Google Awards €22 Million in Digital Innovation Grants

Google's Digital News Initiative has awarded $25 million in grants to European organizations seeking to promote fact checking and news transparency.

The influence of “fake news” in election coverage is as much of a concern in Europe as it is in the U.S. Photo: Hadrian / Shutterstock.com

Google’s nonprofit arm, Google.org, recently announced that it had awarded nearly €22 million ($25 million) to European organizations seeking to support the integration of news and technology.

The grants were made through Google’s Digital News Initiative and its DNI Innovation Fund.

In this round of applications, the organization received more than 988 project submissions from 27 countries. Of the 107 projects funded, 49 are prototypes (early stage projects requiring up to €50,000 of funding), 39 are medium-sized projects (requiring up to €300,000 of funding), and 27 are large projects, requiring up to €1 million of funding.

Google found in these applications that there is a growing interest in fact-checking experiments, with 29 percent more applications in that field when compared with previous rounds. They have also seen increase in the number of projects including artificial intelligence, investigative reporting, and immersive approaches through virtual and augmented reality. Also, 47 percent of all the applications selected for funding have a collaborative element.

A few of the projects funded in this round are:

  • The Open State Foundation of the Netherlands will receive €50,000 to prototype a real-time database of what politician say and do, drawn from a wide range of sources. The goal of the database is to increase transparency and give journalists better access to political information, particularly on niche topics, local politics, and alternative local parties.
  • Publico.es of Spain will use the €208,500 from the DNI grant to offer an open-source application that gives readers behind-the-scenes access to the newspaper’s editorial process so they can trace news gathering and editing work in a transparent way. It will also provide the publisher with data about the cost of producing each story, with a view to monetizing more content through formats like micropayments.
  • German public broadcaster Deutsche Welle was awarded €437,500 from the DNI Innovation Fund. It will use the funds to build “news bridge-Bridge the Language Barrier for News,” a platform that will integrate and enhance a mix of off-the-shelf tools for automated transcription, translation, voiceover, and summarizing of video and audio content in almost any language.
  • England’s WikiTribune, a news platform launched by Jimmy Wales, was awarded €385,000 to scale its operations. It seeks to fight the proliferation of low-quality news sources with fact-based, transparently sourced articles written by professional journalists and verified and improved by a community of volunteers.

Since February of 2016, the DNI has evaluated more than 3,000 applications, interviewed 748 project leaders, and offered 359 organizations in 29 countries a total of €73 million.

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2 thoughts on “Google Awards €22 Million in Digital Innovation Grants

  1. Wrong to describe Jimmy Wales as “the founder of Wikipedia”. He didn’t originate the proposal to launch a wiki-based encyclopedia. He didn’t name Wikipedia. He didn’t issue the first public call for participation on Wikipedia. The man who did all three of those things was Larry Sanger.

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