Google News will allow free access to paywalled articles from news sites

As part of its $1 billion investment in partnerships with news publishers, Google will start paying for some paywalled content for its News Showcase program. News Showcase, a new addition to Google News that launched in October, displays story panels curated by publishers — but its not available in the US yet.





© Illustration by Alex Castro / The Verge


News Showcase will “start offering people access to paywalled content in partnership with select news publishers,” says a Google blog post. Google will pay partners for limited access to paywalled content. To access that content, users will still have to register with the individual publishers.

Users in the US shouldn’t get too excited about free articles just yet. Google lists partnerships with publishers in several countries, but the US is not currently on the list. News Showcase went live in October in Brazil and Germany. Publications in other countries, including

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Discovery Joins the Streaming-Service Fray With Discovery+

Media company Discovery (DISCA) – Get Report on Jan. 4 is launching a streaming service, Discovery+, including a distribution deal with Verizon  (VZ) – Get Report that will make the service immediately available to 50 million customers.

The Silver Spring, Md., company’s service will feature 55,000 episodes from channels in the company’s portfolio, including HGTV, Food Network and Animal Planet. 

“We have been working methodically the past two years to bring all of our strategic advantages to the launch of Discovery+, including distribution and advertising partnerships around the world, a world-class offering of quality brands, authentic personalities and the largest content library at launch, as well as a broad slate of exclusive programming,” Chief Executive David Zaslav said in a statement. 

The service will be free for up to 12 months for new and existing Verizon customers, depending on their plans. 

Those who aren’t eligible for

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Walmart CEO Doug McMillon says focus is on Walmart+ experience as it scales

Doug McMillon, CEO of Walmart.

Adam Jeffery | CNBC

Walmart CEO Doug McMillon said the discounter wants to grow its new membership program, Walmart+, but won’t sacrifice customer experience for subscriber numbers.

“One of the worst things we could do would be to sell a bunch of Walmart+ memberships and then have them be dissatisfied because they can’t get fast delivery times or spots,” he said Wednesday at the Morgan Stanley Virtual Global Consumer & Retail Conference.

Walmart has declined to share the number of subscribers since the program’s debut.

McMillon said the big-box retailer wants to gradually add perks and expand capacity to keep up with members’ orders, such as picking and packing groceries for their unlimited home deliveries. He said it will measure its success by a different number: Its Net Promoter Score, an index that indicates customers’ likelihood to recommend a product or a company.

“I realize

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The VC investors who stand to benefit most when Salesforce buys Slack

  • After Slack went public last year, a few of the VCs who funded it when it was a private startup held onto a chunk of their shares.
  • And they will be rewarded handsomely now that Salesforce has agreed to pay a premium and buy Slack for $27.7 billion.
  • The investors who stand to benefit include Chamath Palihapitiya and Accel’s Andrew Braccia.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Salesforce chief Marc Benioff has called his company and Slack “a match made in heaven.”

And if Salesforce’s purchase of the popular work-chat app for $27.7 billion passes regulatory muster, their union should make some major Slack investors very happy and über rich.

Many of them are the kinds of institutional investors that often own large chunks of newly public tech companies, such as T.Row Price, Vanguard, and BlackRock. 

But a number of them are VCs who first bought in when Slack

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All the Social Media Giants Are Becoming the Same

There is no such thing as a new idea. The maxim holds true in Hollywood (honestly, a remake of Mulan?) and in Silicon Valley (“Uber but for X!”), but lately social media companies have taken unoriginality to new levels. Twitter now has Fleets, a rip-off of Instagram Stories, originally copied from Snapchat. Snapchat now has Spotlight, similar to Instagram Reels, brazenly stolen from TikTok. TikTok grew from the ashes of Vine, which was acquired by Twitter, which is now pursuing a concept called Audio Spaces, a carbon copy of Clubhouse.

Does your head hurt? Mine does, as do my thumbs, which now have three times as many platforms to scroll for short-form and ephemeral videos. I am overwhelmed with content and underwhelmed by features—at least until the next big thing comes along, and everyone lunges to copy that.

Companies are always eyeing their competitors to see what works;

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Biden advisor Bruce Reed hints that Section 230 needs reform

U.S. Vice President Joseph Biden arrives for a meeting with his Chief of Staff Bruce Reed (L) June 22, 2011 on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC.

Win McNamee | Getty Images

A law protecting the tech industry from being held liable for their users’ posts is on shaky ground as President-elect Joe Biden prepares to come into office.

Bruce Reed, a top tech advisor to Biden, said at a virtual book launch hosted by Georgetown Law Wednesday that “it’s long past time to hold the social media companies accountable for what’s published on their platforms.”

Reed, who was chief of staff to Biden during his time as vice president, has advocated for tech reform in his years outside government. He worked as a senior advisor for Jim Steyer’s non-profit Common Sense Media, which advocates for digital media issues impacting children, including content moderation reforms.

Common Sense Media has pushed for

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Second Ontario government computer specialist fired in wake of alleged $11M COVID-19 fraud

A second senior information technology employee has been fired from the Ontario government after the alleged theft of $11 million in pandemic relief funds, the Star has learned.

Shalini Madan was terminated with cause from her $132,513-a-year job as manager of E-Ministries Support at the Ministry of Government and Consumer Services.

She had been suspended with pay since Aug. 11.

Her dismissal came after her husband, Sanjay Madan, was sacked from his $176,608-a-year post as director in the Ministry of Education’s iAccess Solutions Branch in early November.

In documents filed with the Ontario Superior Court, the province alleges that “some or all of” Shalini Madan, Sanjay Madan, their sons Chinmaya Madan and Ujjawal Madan, and associate Vidhan Singh perpetrated “a massive fraud” to siphon COVID-19 aid payments to hundreds of Bank of Montreal and TD accounts.

The government, whose accusations have not been proven in court, alleges “damages for fraud,

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Jimmy John’s to Partner With DoorDash

Jimmy John’s, the private-equity-owned sandwich chain, will partner with food-delivery specialist DoorDash in an effort to expand its customer base and improve its delivery system, according to media reports.

DoorDash, San Francisco, said on Wednesday that Jimmy John’s restaurants across the U.S. will be added to its delivery website, according to CNBC.

Jimmy John’s, Champaign, Ill., said that it would continue to deliver its own orders. 

In February, the chain said it would never authorize third-party-delivery companies to deliver its orders.

The Jimmy Johns deal comes after DoorDash unveiled a new self-delivery service, which enables merchants to fulfill their own orders but benefit from the reach of the DoorDash app, according to CNBC.

The partnership is doing a pilot test with 100 restaurants over six months before making it a permanent chainwide deal, according to CNBC.

As part of the deal, Jimmy John’s will join DoorDash’s subscription program, which offers

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Spotify’s 2020 Gaming Recap: PlayStation and Xbox Usage Is Way Up

You’ve probably seen pretty much everyone you follow online posting their 2020 Wrapped info from Spotify, detailing everyone’s stats for time listened, top artists, genres, podcasts, and more. Well gamers, we haven’t been excluded from the trend. This year, Spotify recorded an almost 55% increase globally in streaming from game consoles, both Xbox and PlayStation, as revealed in a special Wrapped that highlights what those users were listening to this year.

Video game soundtracks did particularly well, unsurprisingly. Minecraft, Doom, and Death Stranding all had their soundtracks in the top streamed category this year, and the soundtrack for Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1+2 spiked more than 316% once the game launched.

If you don’t currently have a Spotify Premium subscription but do have a Game Pass Ultimate membership, you can get a free three-month trial of the music service.

Curious to see what everyone was jamming out to? Here’s Spotify’s

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PubMatic Aims For $100 Million IPO

PubMatic (PUBM) intends to raise $100 million from the sale of its Class A common stock in an IPO, according to an amended registration statement.

Redwood City, California-based PubMatic was founded to enable real-time programmatic advertising transactions via its specialized purpose-built advertising database and delivery infrastructure.

The system exists to help publishers and application developers monetize their advertising placement inventory in an efficient and reliable manner across different devices and platforms.

Management is headed by co-founder and CEO Rajeev Goel, who was previously product marketing director at SAP AG (SAP).

Below is a brief overview video of PubMatic:

Source: PubMatic

The firm provides a sell side advertising infrastructure platform within the digital advertising ecosystem, as shown in the graphic below:

pubmaticoffering

In addition, PubMatic has integrated its system with demand side platforms such as The Trade Desk (TTD) and Google DV360 (GOOG).

PubMatic has received at least $96 million from investors

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