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Reddit and Google's $60 Million Partnership: A Game-Changer for AI and IPO Aspirations


I love Reddit. Of all the social media sites, most of which I head to professionally, for clients daily, it's the only one I use personally on a regular basis. A lot of people I encounter, however, don't love it quite as much, if they even know much about it all. But that's OK. 

However, Reddit has been in the news more often recently.  It has struck a deal with Google. This agreement, valued at approximately $60 million annually, allows Google to utilize Reddit’s content for training its AI models. 

This collaboration is noteworthy for several reasons and has implications for both companies and their users.

Firstly, this deal represents a strategic maneuver by Reddit as it gears up for a much-anticipated initial public offering (IPO). With a valuation of about $10 billion from a 2021 funding round, Reddit is poised to sell around 10% of its shares in this offering, marking a significant moment in the company's journey since its inception in 2005. 

The decision to partner with Google for AI training aligns with Reddit’s broader goal to diversify its revenue streams, especially in a competitive digital advertising market dominated by giants like TikTok and Facebook​​​​.

For Google, this partnership is a major step in enhancing its AI capabilities. Access to Reddit’s diverse and rich content, which spans almost endless topics and discussions, provides Google with a unique and valuable resource for training its AI models. 

This is especially important in an era where the quality of AI training data is paramount to the development of more sophisticated and nuanced AI systems. Google’s interest in leveraging Reddit's content extends beyond AI training; it also includes improving Google's products like search and integrating Reddit's content more seamlessly into these services​​​​.

From a user perspective, particularly for those of us active in Reddit's community, this deal raises several important considerations. Reddit is distinct in its operational model, relying heavily on volunteer moderators and not using algorithmic processes like other social media platforms to predict user interests. 

Users actively search for and engage with content of their choice. This user-centric model is fundamental to the platform's ethos, and the deal with Google includes assurances that Reddit's user terms and privacy policies will be respected. This means that practices like the comprehensive deletion of user content, a staple of Reddit’s approach to user data, will be maintained even in this partnership with Google​​​​.

It's also crucial to understand that this deal doesn't represent a departure from Google's existing practices regarding the use of publicly available, crawlable content. The partnership is more about structured access to Reddit’s content for efficient use in Google’s services and AI model training​​.

But this partnership between Reddit and Google is a landmark moment in the tech world, illustrating how data from social media platforms can play a pivotal role in advancing AI technology. 

For Reddit, it's a strategic move towards financial diversification and growth, particularly as it approaches its IPO. For Google, it signifies a continued investment in AI, leveraging the vast, diverse content of Reddit to refine and enhance its AI models and services. 

This collaboration is a clear example of how major tech companies are increasingly intertwining their capabilities and resources for their mutual benefit and technological advancement. What it will do for the rest of us humans remains to be seen...


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