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Google may prioritize stories for paying news subscribers

The search giant will also share search data with media companies, Bloomberg reports.

Steven Musil Night Editor / News
Steven Musil is the night news editor at CNET News. He's been hooked on tech since learning BASIC in the late '70s. When not cleaning up after his daughter and son, Steven can be found pedaling around the San Francisco Bay Area. Before joining CNET in 2000, Steven spent 10 years at various Bay Area newspapers.
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Dwindling Newspaper Sales Echo Through Economy
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Google plans to prioritize news articles in search results for users who already subscribe to those news outlets, Bloomberg reported Tuesday.

The Alphabet unit will also begin sharing data with media companies on who's most likely to buy a subscription, Bloomberg reported, citing anonymous sources. The initiative, expected to be unveiled at an event March 20 in New York, aims to help media companies find and retain paying customers.

As readers have increasingly gone online for their news, newspapers have suffered declining subscriber numbers and lower advertising revenue, resulting in a dramatic industry contraction. Many newspaper publishers have blamed Google and other news-aggregation sites for their woes and have focused on getting readers to pay for their content.

The move comes as Google looks to offer better search and ad solutions for news sites with paywalls. Many publishers have pressed Google and Facebook for new tools to increase subscriber rolls, arguing that the two tech powerhouses should do more to support trusted journalism at a time when the companies are being pilloried for helping to spread fake news.

Google didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.

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