Google has agreed to pay news publishers a billion dollars over the next three years for the rights to distribute their news content via the search engine.

On Thursday, Google released a statement saying it has approved contracts for its news partnership program with almost 200 news outlets in Argentina, Canada, Germany, Brazil, the U.K. and Australia.

“This financial commitment – our biggest to date – will pay publishers to create and curate high-quality content for a different kind of online news experience,” CEO Sundar Pichai said in a blog post.

Today, Thursday the 8th of October, Google’s News Showcase begins in Brazil and Germany, with new storyboards that let publishers aggregate stories with innovations like timelines. It will arrive first on Google News for Android, then Apple iOS, before rolling out to Google Discover and regular Search.

The funding is part of Google’s news licensing program in June, as the search giant seeks to alleviate tensions with the put upon news sector. News companies want Google, and rival Facebook, to pay towards the news content that they funnel from commercial media sources while taking the largest share of ad income.

However, many are skeptical of the latest move. The European Publishers Council said it’s a ploy by Google to forestall legislation and government action to get them to settle.
“Many are quite cynical about Google’s perceived strategy,” said Angela Mills Wade, the council’s executive director. “By launching a program, they can dictate terms and conditions, impair legislation designed to create conditions for a balanced negotiation, while declaring they are supporting news production financially.”