Google pledges £50 million fund to French online media

Google has announced two new initiatives aimed at helping French publishers.

The first focuses on a €60 million (£52 million) Digital Publishing Innovation Fund for digital publishing, while the second is designed to increase French publishers' online revenues.

The agreement, signed by Google chairman Eric Schmidt and French president Francois Hollande, means Google will help fund the development of the French media on the Internet - a move France has long been pushing toward, in the hope that Google would pay licensing fees for the headlines and summaries used in its search results.

"This exciting announcement builds on the commitments we made in 2011 to increase our investment in France, including our Cultural Institute in Paris to help preserve amazing cultural treasures such as the Dead Sea Scrolls," Schmidt said in a blog entry.

More than simply financing its Web expansion, Google will also help publishers increase revenue using its advertising technology.

"These agreements show that through business and technology partnerships we can help stimulate digital innovation for the benefit of consumers, our partners, and the wider Web," Schmidt said.

He made no direct mention of a settlement in the blog, but Google's news points to the resolution of a case in which news publishers accused Google of copyright infringement for linking to news articles. A similar deal was made in December with Belgian newspaper publishers, ending six years of litigation.