Google gathers tools for journalists in one spot

Wednesday, Google unveiled a new home for its products that might help journalists.

“What we hope is that it allows the journalists who already have some understanding of these tools to further explore them,” Daniel Sieberg, Google’s head of media outreach, said in a phone call with Poynter. “And for the ones who didn’t know, it gives them a place to start.”

The site offers stops for finding trends and surveys, sections on publishing, a maps engine — including a lite version that allows users to customize maps and add in locations — and even the company’s own Transparency Report, showing requests from governments around the world for removal of content during the past six months.

Google plans to update as time goes on and get the site translated into different languages, Sieberg said.

“This is sort of the beginning of what we hope is a portal or hub, if you will, of how journalists think about our products.”

Sieberg and his team come from various disciplines, including engineering and marketing, “but we all have a journalistic background.”

The tools weren’t built for journalists, he said, but his team is working on ways journalists can use them.

So what does Google get out of all this? Sieberg said he doesn’t think about that.

“My job is to work with media and enable them and empower them. It’s really not about us. It is in so far as yes, they are Google tools and Google products, but it’s more like we’re trying to serve the journalistic community, and by extension, serve their readers and their audiences.”

Journalists are now thinking about the power of the internet to reach those audiences, Sieberg said, and there are some pretty simple ways to do that.

“Everywhere we go, journalists are hungry for this kind of information and crave new tools for their tool box,” he said.

Sieberg helped unveil the new site at the Online News Association’s conference, happening now in Atlanta, and he said he encountered no skepticism about Google’s motivations.

“It was more like, oh, this is great. Finally. Yes, we want this.”

Muck Rack has a running collection of responses from some journalists in the Twitterverse about the new site. Their comments include lots of exclamation points and at least one “Awesome.”

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