Google’s “Living Stories” Projects Helps Ailing Newspapers

google_logoInternet search leader Google Inc. is teaming up with The New York Times and The Washington Post in its latest attempt to help out the ailing newspaper industry.

The new project, called “Living Stories,” debuted Tuesday in the experimental “labs” section on Google’s Web site.

The service is supposed to make it easier for readers to follow evolving news stories. It will package stories from both the Times and the Post so the coverage can be more easily updated to include new developments.

Some of the initial topics featured on the service Tuesday included health care reform, executive pay and the Washington Redskins.

Google isn’t paying the newspapers to feature the content, and there aren’t any immediate plans to sell advertising alongside the material, said Josh Cohen, a Google product manager overseeing the project.

Still, Google thinks Living Stories can help newspapers adapt to a shift that is causing millions of people to get their news from online sources instead of print. That’s a huge problem for newspapers because they make most of their money from ads appearing in print.

As print advertising has crumbling, some newspaper publishers have lashed out against Google, which is based in Mountain View. They depict Google as a leech that has profited by showing snippets of their online stories and photographs.

Rupert Murdoch, chief executive of News Corp., has been among the most outspoken critics. He has even threatened to block Google from listing News Corp.’s publications, including The Wall Street Journal, in its search index.

The New York Times, though, regards Google as an ally, according to Martin Nisenholtz, who oversees the newspaper’s online operations.

“We have a very successful, significant relationship with Google,” Nisenholtz told investors and analysts Tuesday at a media conference in New York.

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