Google said Tuesday it is changing how it grants access to news stories through its search engine to give publishers more control over how much content people can see for free.
The move by Google marks a step toward placating the publishing industry, which has raised concerns that the popular search engine has undermined its revenues.
The changes will be made to Google’s “First Click Free” program, which allowed users free access to content through Google News that a publisher would normally charge for.
Under the new changes, people will be able to obtain free access to participating sites’ premium content via Google a maximum of five times a day. The changes apply to searches done through both Google News and its regular Web search.
“If you’re a Google user, this means that you may start to see a registration page after you’ve clicked through to more than five articles on the Web site of a publisher using First Click Free in a day,” wrote Josh Cohen, senior business product manager, on a Google blog.
While I’m still against pay walls, this seems like a good compromise for both Google and news providers — just not for readers.