Google rival to Apple News+ will be free

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Apple News+ could be about to get fresh competition from a premium version of Google News.
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

Google will pay publishers so it can create “a new news experience launching later this year,” the company said Thursday. While the announcement is vague, Google seems to be putting together a rival for Apple News+, a subscription news-aggregation service for Mac, iPhone and iPad.

Perhaps a Google News+

Google already aggregates news from sources around the world into Google News. But this practice is controversial because it takes money away from the companies that actually produce the content.

The service announced today via a Google blog post seems to be an attempt to partially remedy that. The search and advertising giant says its upcoming service “will help participating publishers monetize their content through an enhanced storytelling experience that lets people go deeper into more complex stories, stay informed and be exposed to a world of different issues and interests.”

But not like Apple’s

Apple News+ bundles access to hundreds of magazines and leading newspapers for a $9.99 monthly subscription. It includes The Wall Street Journal, Vanity Fair, GQ and many more.

Google said Thursday it’s also wiling to pay publishers for access to paywalled content. The difference is that the company will offer that premium content to users for free.

There’s a free version of Apple News, too, but it’s primarily populated with content from free news sites like Cult of Mac.

The Android-maker didn’t get more specific about when its new news service will launch than “later this year.” And it’s not yet clear if it’ll be a website or an app.

One way Google can stand out from Apple News+, which debuted in early 2019, is by turning a profit. An unconfirmed report recently indicated Apple News+ failed to attract as many subscribers as Cupertino hoped.