New Delhi | Agencies: Tech giant Google on Thursday announced that it will add four more languages -- Kannada, Marathi, Tamil and Telugu -- in addition to English and Hindi in its dedicated News Showcase panels in Google News and on Discover "to help more readers get access to quality news in their own languages".

"In May, we announced the expansion of Google News Showcase, our online experience and licensing program to support news organizations and readers, to India. With the addition of these new languages and new partners today, we now have onboarded more than 50 partners representing more than 70 publications," it said in a statement.

The firm is working closely with a number of News Showcase partners to pay to provide users free access to select paywalled stories. This feature gives users the opportunity to get to know the content they might not otherwise have access to.

Google said that its investment of USD 1 billion over the next three years towards news partnerships and for Google News Showcase helps support publications to produce, distribute and explain essential information to users in new ways.

"News Showcase panels give publishers the ability to tell important news stories together with context and links to additional stories. Panels also feature recognisable branding so users can easily find and identify trusted news organisations," Brad Bender, VP Product Management, News said recently.

Google News Initiative (GNI) Startups Lab India

Google on Thursday also announced that applications for Google News Initiative (GNI) Startups Lab have opened in India. Through this four-month program, Google aims "to help independent local or single-subject journalism organizations find a pathway to financial and operational sustainability through intensive coaching, skills training and other support".

"Created in partnership with the global innovation lab Echos and DIGIPUB News India Foundation, the GNI Startups Lab India program will support high-quality reporting for local and underserved communities. We welcome applications from news startups publishing in all Indian languages," it said.

(With inputs from IANS)

Posted By: Aalok Sensharma