Google and the Associated Press, one of the world’s largest news publication wires, have agreed to a new contract that will allow Google to continue publishing AP content without fear of a lawsuit.

The agreement has always been an odd one for Google, which built Google News as a collection of headlines and links to news stories. For the AP, however, which has historically charged licensees a fee to run its stories through their news outlets, Google’s link-to-a-website model was unattractive.

The deal’s extension comes on the heels of a short-term deal to continue posting AP content on Google’s news feed. The AP prevented Google from publishing its content earlier this year when the original contract expired. The two companies reached a short-term agreement about a month later to continue distributing content to Google users.

The rhetoric has been tense between the two companies — at one point, AP CEO Tom Curley said the company was considering offering providers an exclusive period of time to host news content in exchange for a fee.

Google began hosting content from AP in 2007.

[Photo: Spencer E Holtaway]