Google takes a beating in the public opinion arena because it is a large company that controls the flow of a lot of information. When the search giant bought YouTube, many users wondered if Google would constrain the kind of videos that would be accepted and limit what people could see. But when the opposite happened and YouTube started taking on even more videos than before, industry analysts admitted that they may have been wrong about their initial impressions of Google.
Recently, Google announced three initiatives that are aimed at using Google’s amazing exposure to help journalists and non-journalists to enhance how the news is reported. Google will be teaming up with other Internet media giants to create options that will expand the way the world sees and even reports the news.
First Draft Coalition
The Google News Lab was created to help refine and develop the concept of digital media. Google teamed up with such online media companies as Storyful, Bellingcat, Eyewitness Media Hub, and First Look Media to create an outlet for crowd-sourced journalism. The First Draft Coalition is a project between Google and all of its media partners to help confirm crowd-sourced media stories so that they can be used in more mainstream media pieces. These stories will also be featured on social media outlets to help attract more traffic.
Last year, Facebook and Storyful teamed up to create the FB Newswire which was a service that had Storyful confirming the validity of Facebook videos and then releasing those videos to be used in media pieces. Google has jumped on board with this program by combining YouTube and Storyful to create the YouTube Newswire. The obvious advantage here is the vast amount of video resources YouTube offers compared to Facebook. Storyful estimates that it has nearly 300 hours of new videos to confirm from YouTube every minute.
WITNESS Media Lab
The idea of people writing human rights violations stories or posting human rights violation videos on YouTube is nothing new. But Google has teamed up with a non-profit human rights group called WITNESS to create the WITNESS Media Lab. It is a resources that will teach non-journalists how they can properly capture and report on human rights violations and bring attention to the suffering that is going on in the world. One of the first projects the new media lab will take on is to help bring together eyewitness videos of American police brutality in an effort to put a stop to the violence.
Google has amassed a network of companies and contacts that make it one of the largest media organizations in the world. Instead of sitting back and raking in profits from its acquisitions and partnerships, Google is actively seeking ways to use its influence to make the world a better place and give non-journalists the tools they need to help affect changed around the world. Most of these services are in their infancy stages, but Google expects to have them all up and running at full force by the end of the year.