Google won't block news links in Canada in response to new legislation after all. The company pledged earlier this year to pull links to Canadian news stories from Search, News and Discover when the country's Online News Act (Bill C-18) takes effect in December. However, Google has reached a deal with the country's government that will see it continuing to serve users there with Canadian news.
"Following constructive discussions, our government and Google have reached an agreement — they will contribute to the Online News Act. We worked hard to make this possible," Minister of Canadian Heritage Pascale St-Onge wrote on X. "This Act is good news for journalism, for online platforms and for Canadians."
Google has agreed to pay news publishers in Canada around $100 million CAD per year, according to the CBC. That's significantly less than the government's previous estimate that Google's annual payments should be around $172 million. The $100 million figure is in line with Google's own estimates of how much it should pay.
The company will still need to sign an agreement with the media after negotiations. Google had demurred over a mandatory negotiation model that would have seen it hold talks with media organizations. Instead, the CBC reports that Google will only need to negotiate with a representative group, which is said to limit the company's risk of arbitration.
"We thank the Minister of Canadian Heritage, Pascale St-Onge, for acknowledging our concerns and deeply engaging in a series of productive meetings about how they might be addressed," Kent Walker, Google and Alphabet's president of global affairs, told Engadget in a statement. "Following extensive discussions, we are pleased that the Government of Canada has committed to addressing our core issues with Bill C-18, which included the need for a streamlined path to an exemption at a clear commitment threshold. While we work with the government through the exemption process based on the regulations that will be published shortly, we will continue sending valuable traffic to Canadian publishers."
Google's arrangement with the government will be factored into the Bill C-18 legislative framework, which must be finalized by the middle of December. Although Google said in June that it would remove links to Canadian news stories from several of its key services, it never followed through on that threat.
Meta, on the other hand, has blocked Canadian news links on Facebook and Instagram since June. According to the CBC, Meta has not returned to the negotiating table with the government. Google and Meta are the only companies that meet Bill C-18's legislative criteria.
Updated 11/29 2:08PM ET: Added statements from Pascale St-Onge and Kent Walker.This article originally appeared on Engadget at https://www.engadget.com/google-wont-block-news-links-in-canada-after-all-180258909.html?src=rss