Google is considering charging for new "premium" features powered by generative artificial intelligence, marking the first time the company has put any of its core product behind a paywall. The proposed revamp to its cash cow search engine would mark the first time the company has put any of its core product behind a paywall and shows it is still grappling with a technology that threatens its advertising business. Google is looking at options including adding certain AI-powered search features to its premium subscription services, which already offer access to its new Gemini AI assistant in Gmail and Docs. Engineers are developing the technology needed to deploy the service, but executives have not yet made a final decision on whether or when to launch it. Google reported $175bn in revenue from search and related ads last year, more than half its total sales, posing a conundrum for the company over how to embrace the latest AI innovations while preserving its biggest profit driver.

Google is launching a project to connect independent fact checkers and Indian language publishers to share fact checks, research resources, and alerts on elections-related viral misinformation and deepfakes. The project will provide news organizations and fact-checkers with essential training in advanced fact-checking methodologies, deepfake detection, and the latest Google tools like the Fact Check Explorer. The partnership aims to empower different demographics, helping them make informed choices during the elections and beyond. Google has trained over 65,000 journalists, media educators, and journalism students in 15+ languages since 2018.

Google has introduced several new features to its Maps platform, including Immersive View for routes, Lens in Maps, detailed maps, and more EV information. Immersive View for routes is now available in Amsterdam, Barcelona, Dublin, Florence, Las Vegas, London, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, Paris, San Francisco, San Jose, Seattle, Tokyo, and Venice. Lens in Maps combines AI and augmented reality to help users adapt to their surroundings, with the feature now available in over 50 cities. Google also announced plans to provide a more precise representation of the real world, with refreshed map colors, enhanced depiction of buildings, and improved lane details on highways. Additionally, Google has expanded its features for vehicles equipped with Google integration, providing more informative charging station data, and offering photo-first results for specific searches. These features aim to help users find new places that align with their preferences.

Google is testing removing links to California news sites for some users in the western US state as legislators debate the possibility of the California Journalism Preservation Act (CJPA), which would create a "link tax" for connecting users to news articles. Google Global News Partnerships vice president Jaffer Zaidi said the uncapped financial exposure created by CJPA would be unworkable and create business uncertainty. Google and Facebook-owner Meta have pushed back against efforts to compensate news outlets for stories that make it onto their platforms. Google's trial involves removing links to news websites to measure the effect on the platform. Only two percent of Google search queries are news-related.


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