Google’s latest initiative is aimed squarely at the media industry. News Lab, launched today, helps to foster the future of digital media.
Marketed as a hub for digital journalists, it will give journalists access to a host of data from Google’s many apps and platforms to help them develop “the future of media.” News Lab will offer data from Google apps and platforms like Maps, Fusion Tables, Earth, YouTube, and Search, as well as a set of tutorials that explains how to make the most of these products.
In addition to giving journalists access to its vast swathes of data, Google will also be trying to shape the future of media through partnerships with outlets like Matter, a media-focused seed investment fund, and Hacks/Hackers, a grassroots journalism organization. The company is also planning to host a series of TechRaking summits, hackathons devoted to experimenting with new media tech tools like drones, databases, and other new data-gathering devices.
Last week’s expansion of Google Trends is also a part of the News Lab initiative. The Google Trends homepage now features a smattering of stories trending on Google Search and YouTube. The platform will also provide more granular insights on hot topics of debate.
News Lab will also engage citizen journalists through three projects: First Draft, The WITNESS Media Lab, and the YouTube Newswire, which it also announced last week. Each project leverages Google’s open platforms (like YouTube) where individuals can upload content like videos and photos from breaking news sites.
This is far from Google’s first bid for the journalism community; even two years ago the company was rolling out Media Tools for journalists to help them grow their audiences. But today’s announcement underscores the company’s decision to take a more active role in what the future of media will look like — perhaps trying to cement its role as a main conduit through which people consume content.