If you are a voracious digital reader the newspaper paywall system is a fact of life. Newspapers traditionally allow users to read only a few articles per month, until you have to pay a monthly subscription. There is a way to bypass this system by simply Googling or using DuckDuckgo to search for the name of the article and you can read it in its entirety for free. Google is going to be revising its search engine system to prevent users from doing this in the near future, in addition to working with publishers to find a paywall system that is compatible with the needs of users today and tomorrow.
According to the New York Times “Google is working on new tools that could help news organizations bolster their subscription businesses. The tools are part of a broader effort to preserve the kind of journalism that Google’s dominance, and that of other web giants like Facebook, has threatened.
Google’s plans include doing away with the “first click free” policy, which requires subscription-based news outlets to offer three free articles a day through its search and news features, allowing users to skirt paywalls. A new program, which Google plans to start this week and is calling “flexible sampling,” will allow those publishers to determine how many free clicks to give Google’s users.”
I think what Google is basically doing is including all Paywall newspaper articles to appear in search results. This would include all content from the New York Times, Guardian, Financial Times and other publications. While Google is encouraging such free samples, they will no longer be required for a site to be listed in search. Additionally, there are no plans to add a filter so users can exclude paywall sites from their search results.