NEW TECHNOLOGY

Google and EL PAÍS launch infographics and virtual reality project

VR-Infographics receives €500,000 endowment from search engine’s Digital News Initiative

Google has announced it is to donate €500,000 toward a virtual reality infographics project with EL PAÍS and other media in the PRISA Noticias group as part of its Digital News Initiative, an alliance between the search engine and Europe’s leading news organizations to support high-quality journalism through technology and innovation.

DAVID FOLGUEIRAS

The announcement was made on Thursday at a press conference in Amsterdam, where Google announced the 107 recipients of its latest €22 million round of funding for its Digital News Initiative.

VR-INFOGRAPHICS combines real-time news production with virtual reality to create new immersive experiences for readers. The project creates a work environment that covers the production chain of print infographics, including online, video, 360º video and virtual reality immersive environments.

The idea is to create a tool oriented toward users that consume journalistic information in a more visual and interactive way Javier Lasa, head of Multimedia and Mobility at PRISA Technology

“The idea is to create a tool and a new narrative oriented toward users that consume journalistic information in a more visual and interactive way and also to optimize infographics that so far have only been available in print or on the web and that can be consumed in immersive environments,” says Javier Lasa, head of Multimedia and Mobility at PRISA Technology.

In previous Digital News Initiative financing rounds, PRISA Noticias has received endowments for the Hertz project to simplify how radio content is shared, EL PAÍS HD, which detects trending audiovisual content and quickly distributes them, as well as Football Data Suite, which uses big data for sports news.

Noemí Ramírez, head of Digital Development at EL PAÍS and PRISA Noticias, says that Google’s funding will support the group’s digital development, “one of its foundations,” and give readers “more immersive and even participatory formats.”

EL PAÍS is part of Google’s Accelerated Mobile Pages project, which provides publishers, application programmers and readers to access news rapidly via smartphone.

Google’s Digital News Initiative funds projects related to “new ways of thinking” about digital journalism

In a press release, Google said it had noted “growing interest in fact-checking experiments, with 29% more applications in that field in comparison to the previous rounds.” It also said there had been a 23% rise in applications from the last round of financing for projects including artificial intelligence, a 20% increase in investigative reporting and a 20% increase on immersive approaches through virtual and augmented reality.

Google’s Digital News Initiative, announced in April 2015, includes a €150 million fund to be spent over three years for projects related to “new ways of thinking” about digital journalism. The founding partners are EL PAÍS, Les Echos (France), FAZ (Germany), The Financial Times (United Kingdom), The Guardian (United Kingdom), NRC Media (the Netherlands), La Stampa (Italy) and Die Zeit (Germany), along with organizations such as the European Journalism Centre (EJC), Global Editors Network (GEN) e International News Media Association (INMA).

English version by Nick Lyne.

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