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Google may save the news business from themselves 6/12/08

Posted by Steve Boriss in Google.

I realize I may be a lone voice in the news biz on this, but the more I listen to the folks at Google, the better I feel about them and their impact on news. To be clear, I never believed they were a legitimate scapegoat for newspapers’ woes, and agree with CEO Eric Schmidt that “many of the criticisms I see [from media companies] seem to be merely about the change, and Google happens to be the messenger.” Exactly. For instance, it was not Google’s idea for newspapers to take such advantage of the barrier to competition printing technology had given them to outsource their previously original domestic and international news content to the AP, making them sitting ducks for when the same material became available everywhere on the Internet, not just at Google News. While Google News’ aggregation of these stories did make the papers’ lack of original content painfully obvious, the papers’ agreement to stop complaining about Google’s use of article previews in exchange for featuring just the AP’s version was painfully oblivious.

Now, look what Google is doing for news. They are solving the problem of how to deliver online ads to fragmented online audiences just at the time news needs to fragment to restore valuable original content. They are developing Google Alerts technology, which can assist newspapers in their inevitable transition to becoming news aggregators that pull from multiple sources. They are swearing that they have no interest at all in entering the content business, which is completely believable if you look at their business model and core competencies. In the end, Google will make newspapers’ advertisers far happier than they have ever been, reducing wasted impressions, and enabling just about any business to advertise, not just those who can afford ads at a metro or regional level. Every newspaper should add to their masthead, “In Google we Trust.”


1. eddie - 6/13/08


google most certainly IS a content company.

good ol’ st.louis just added to google streetview.

if that’s not content, then maybe can begin to discuss the definition of “IS”.

the reality is that google knows that distinct content creation – of which hyperlocal is an example – is too expensive.

but large-scale content creation with simple decisions is not particularly expensive.

a) search algorithm – albeit complex, not expensive reltive to its SCALE.

b) “drive down all streets in this city with camera on van” –

c) gbase – google’s strategy here in creating content was exactly that of newspapers. just free-er and more scale-able.

so, to correct you and others, google is very much a content company who will never be good certain kinds of content – those that don’t scale.

2. Steve Boriss - 6/13/08


I guess technically you are right. My context for content is news, and I don’t believe Google is interested in this.

3. List ‘o Links For June 13 | Online News Squared (tm) - 6/13/08

[…] “Every newspaper should add to their masthead, “In Google we Trust.” ” Here. […]

4. ox - 6/16/08

Don’t disagree with your argument. But Google News does create content. See its feature “Comments by People in the News” —

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