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Publisher Whining Prompts Italian Investigation of Google

ScuttleMonkey posted more than 4 years ago | from the sounds-like-pure-unadulterated-greed-to-me dept.

Google 91

Complaints about "lack of transparency" from publishers have prompted Italian competition authorities to begin an investigation of Google's search and news services. I'm sure their motives are completely altruistic. "Because Google does not disclose the criteria for ranking news articles or search results, he said, newspapers are unable to hone their content to try to earn more revenue from online advertising. Ad revenue on the Web is directly proportional to the size of the audience, which is heavily influenced by search or Google News rankings."

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91 comments

first post (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29235015)

yessssss

Google farted!! (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29235021)

and slashdot is there to report the smell..

Epic Fail (2)

LaskoVortex (1153471) | more than 4 years ago | (#29235033)

Complaints about "lack of transparency" from publishers have prompted Italian competition authorities to begin an investigation of Google's search and news services.

Good luck in getting a bunch of bureaucrats to wrap their minds around google's ranking algorithm.

Re:Epic Fail (4, Funny)

Hognoxious (631665) | more than 4 years ago | (#29235101)

When I read "Italian competition authorities" the last thing I thought of was bureaucrats.

Re:Epic Fail (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 4 years ago | (#29235277)

Pagerank sleeps with the fishes?

Re:Epic Fail (2, Informative)

Philip K Dickhead (906971) | more than 4 years ago | (#29235583)

Just one word:

"Burlusconi"

Re:Epic Fail (1)

mollog (841386) | more than 4 years ago | (#29235679)

So this is the third Slashdot article in a row that speaks of the internet and government involvement. Surely, this is a sign of the time and of an increasing trend. For better or worse, citizens of the 'net will be doing battle with government and politicians.

Re:Epic Fail (1)

Jaysyn (203771) | more than 4 years ago | (#29235787)

That basically means everyone under 35 vs. THEM. I wouldn't like those odds if I was the politicos.

Re:Epic Fail (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29235905)

More like "Everyone Under 45 Vs. Them". Generation X likes the Internet too.

Re:Epic Fail (1)

thePowerOfGrayskull (905905) | more than 4 years ago | (#29237663)

That basically means everyone under 35 vs. THEM. I wouldn't like those odds if I was the politicos.

Oh, I would. "under 35" is a self-correcting flaw. You really think the 70-somethings of today weren't brimming full of ideas for righteous change 30-40 years ago?

Re:Epic Fail (1)

Hucko (998827) | more than 4 years ago | (#29238321)

No. Only the good die young.

Re:Epic Fail (5, Funny)

SterlingSylver (1122973) | more than 4 years ago | (#29235725)

This sure is a nice search engine you got here. Be a shame if something were to happen to it. You know, I gots an idea, how's about you pay my boy Vinnie here 8.4 Billion Euros, and he makes sure nothin' happens to your little website. Ain't that right, Vinnie?

Re:Epic Fail (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29250285)

That movie-like situation is a thing of the past, it was history even before the first Godfather was shot. Now in Italy the Mafia IS the government, also thanks to that criminal named Berlusconi and his cohorts. They don't kill you physically anymore, rather, they slowly ruin your business, destroy your public image (if any) and credibility until you become completely irrelevant to them or kill yourself in the process.
Most people believe that having no Mafia related shootings here in Italy during the last years is a good thing. Unfortunately that's exactly the opposite. When the mafia doesn't shoot is a clear sign that they're healthy and can control the country by other means (corrupt politicians, newspapers and TV networks, etc.).
Each and every time somebody in Italy attacks the Internet (of course hiding their real motives behind terrorism, pedophilia, piracy, etc) they always are trying to silence the last sources of information exposing our corrupt government.

Re:Epic Fail (1)

NoOneInParticular (221808) | more than 4 years ago | (#29237371)

Kind of like: good luck with judges to wrap their minds around dna profile matching? Of course: you get a few experts, they say yes or no, you follow the experts. Doesn't sound like rocket science to me.

Re:Epic Fail (1)

LaskoVortex (1153471) | more than 4 years ago | (#29238139)

Kind of like: good luck with judges to wrap their minds around dna profile matching?

No. Kind of like: good luck with getting juries to wrap their minds around dna profile matching? Hint: OJ Simpson.

Re:Epic Fail (1)

SnowZero (92219) | more than 4 years ago | (#29240431)

"If the website got a hit, you must acquit."

Give me a break. (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29235037)

Google provides a service. If you don't like their service, go use something else. Or better yet, build your own damn search and aggregation engine.

Re:Give me a break. (2, Informative)

amicusNYCL (1538833) | more than 4 years ago | (#29236403)

This isn't about Italians using or not using Google. This is the Italians wondering why their news sources aren't ranked higher on Google News.

The newspapers don't opt-in to Google News, they aren't "users" of Google News, the public are the users. The newspapers want to know, considering the fact that a lot of people use Google News, how do they get their content listed higher, and are they being unfairly discriminated against?

But regardless of the details, this isn't a "if you don't like it use something else" scenario, the newspapers aren't "using" Google News. The public is.

Because Google does not disclose the criteria for ranking news articles or search results, he said, newspapers are unable to hone their content to try to earn more revenue from online advertising.

I believe google answered this a long time ago. (1)

lalena (1221394) | more than 4 years ago | (#29236975)

Stop using fancy eye catching titles to your articles if they aren't relevant. Stick to the facts & key words.

Among other things, the Google's search algorithm is based on the text within the links to a page, the title of a page, the header text near the top of a page... News sites like to use titles that make you think "What is that article about". That is a horrible way to have Google link to your page with a high page rank.

For example, one of the top articles on CNN.com about Kennedy's death is titled "What if Chappaquiddick happened today?" No search engine will link to that article. The only key word there is Chappaquiddick.

Although Google doesn't directly provide information on how their algorithm works, there are many SEO sites that provide good enough information to tell them that they are doing a horrible job. The low level specifics are meaningless when you can't even get the basics right.

Re:Give me a break. (2, Insightful)

B4D BE4T (879239) | more than 4 years ago | (#29237027)

The newspapers are using Google as free advertising for their websites. If they want a higher spot on search results, they can always pay Google for it.

Re:Give me a break. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29236497)

Money is money. Italians know this. Google's services can make Italian businesses or it can break them, at the flip of a pagerank.

Searches that make it past result page 3? I'm guessing around 2 percent. I'd actually like to know the statistic on that... but I digress.

"Nationalized" pageranking means regimes can continue to steer business to wealthy friends like they did in the pre-internet search era.

If the Italians are able to secure it (somehow? international law exists only in your mind) I expect other countries to follow suit forthwith.

Then, those regimes can steer business to friends and manipulate markets again, like they could in the pre-internet search market.

By the way, how do you say "shakedown" in Italian? Is it like the eskimos with the 42 words for snow?

Re:Give me a break. (2, Insightful)

NoOneInParticular (221808) | more than 4 years ago | (#29237413)

Microsoft provides an office suite. If you don't like their office suite, go use something else. Or better yet, build your own dam search and aggregation engine.

Re:Give me a break. (1)

tagno25 (1518033) | more than 4 years ago | (#29240867)

Microsoft provides an office suite. If you don't like their office suite, go use something else.

And I use a competitor (OpenOffice.org), there are plenty of other options available. (Many read MS Office formats)

Also, apparently google is too complicated... (4, Informative)

BigGar' (411008) | more than 4 years ago | (#29235049)

I recommend they start here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/PageRank [wikipedia.org]

What a coincidence (5, Informative)

mrtommyb (1534795) | more than 4 years ago | (#29235055)

The Prime Minister of Italy owns the largest Italian publishing house

Re:What a coincidence (3, Insightful)

Runaway1956 (1322357) | more than 4 years ago | (#29235327)

"Mr. Malinconico said that in addition to the complaint against Google, the federation was also looking at other measures to try to generate more revenue from the Web"

I'll translate that from Italian.

"We don't think people should make money unless they share it with us, despite the fact that we have nothing to offer that anybody wants to see."

Re:What a coincidence (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29235495)

"We don't think people should make money unless they share it with us, despite the fact that we have nothing to offer that anybody wants to see."

REG: All right, but apart from the sanitation, the medicine, education, wine, public order, irrigation, roads, a fresh water system, and public health, what have the Romans ever done for us?
XERXES: Brought peace.
REG: Oh. Peace? Shut up!

Italian politics (2, Insightful)

mollog (841386) | more than 4 years ago | (#29235721)

A big difference between Italian politics and American politics is that the corruption and self-interest is much more transparent in Italy. They aren't ashamed of it, it's part of the human condition. Only in America do a people believe that there is something akin to morality in the operation of government.

Re:Italian politics (5, Insightful)

Trepidity (597) | more than 4 years ago | (#29236051)

Only in America do a people believe that there is something akin to morality in the operation of government.

I don't think that's true in either direction. First, a great deal of Americans don't believe there is anything akin to morality in the operation of government, whether they're left-wingers who think the government is the tool of imperialist-capitalist interests, conservatives who think the government is spreading hedonism and immorality via the public schools, or libertarians who don't like any operation of government at all.

And on the flip side, a good many Europeans expect there to be something akin to morality in the operation of government. Italy is not representative of most of Europe, and places like Sweden have very different expectations from their government, which are more positive on the whole, even if there is still plenty of cynicism about politicians.

Re:Italian politics (1)

nortcele (186941) | more than 4 years ago | (#29236995)

Government should be by the people and for the people. Granted that is an ideal, but it should always be the goal. Citizens who cease striving to rid government of corruption and just put up with it are selling themselves short. They deserve better. Citizens of Illinois and Italy have put up with corruption for way too long. Economic downturns have a way of helping people grow weary of corruption and dealing with it.

Re:Italian politics (1)

pete6677 (681676) | more than 4 years ago | (#29239975)

This makes a lot of sense, as Chicago has a huge Italian immigrant population. No wonder this city has always had an unlimited tolerance for corruption.

Re:What a coincidence (1)

ampsicora (145573) | more than 4 years ago | (#29237189)

The Prime Minister of Italy owns the largest Italian publishing house

He doesn't just own a lot of the media but also the biggest advertising company, Mediaset. In fact, there was also a similar lawsuit against youtube.

The prime minister and his lawyer posse has been quite active. They just sued a rival newspaper for asking questions that he deemed libelous: (in italian) http://www.repubblica.it/2009/08/sezioni/politica/berlusconi-divorzio-22/causa-domande/causa-domande.html

Re:What a coincidence (1)

Dan B. (20610) | more than 4 years ago | (#29240007)

The Prime Minister of Italy owns the largest Italian publishing house

You're spot on.

Unfortunately there are no laws or legal reason in some countires (I'm looking at you USA) why politicians can not hold an entire countries stock of media related buiness and not control the media related decisions of the government.

Another example would be a person, say the Defense Secretary, owning 8% of a defence contracting company like, say Haliburton, and then miraculously awarding them contracts to the tune of $2bn per annum.

Berlisconi clearly believes that as the PM of Italy, his ties to the Italian media are by no means a 'conflict of interests'...And that pigs can fly...

Re:What a coincidence (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29250325)

Also, he began his business career as a money launderer for the Mafia, founded a political party with the help of a friend of his [wikipedia.org] that got sentenced 9 years for Mafia associations, and silences every attempt to publish information about his crimes. That's the true reason behind his continuous attempts to filter information on the Internet, including but not limited to the latest laws that make things even more difficult for blog owners. This man is a bastard.

Uh-huh (5, Insightful)

G33kGuy (1152863) | more than 4 years ago | (#29235063)

"Because Google does not disclose the criteria for ranking news articles or search results, he said, newspapers are unable to hone their content to try to earn more revenue from online advertising." As in, they want to change their pages to artificially inflate their page rank, regardless of relevance to what people are searching for.

Re:Uh-huh (2)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 4 years ago | (#29235917)

>>>they want to change their pages to artificially inflate their page rank

You beat me to it, and said what I was thinking. I would also add - Isn't "Google does not disclose the criteria for ranking results" generally a good thing??? That means NOBODY can game the system, so it's an equal opportunity for all publishers. And even if somebody does get a high ranking, it's only temporary because Google is constantly changing their methodology.

Only in Italy would somebody think it's okay to cheat. ("Yes I looked at the teacher's answer key - I was just using it as a study guide.") I suspect this kind of thinking goes all the way back to the Roman Empire.

Re:Uh-huh (1)

Hucko (998827) | more than 4 years ago | (#29238413)

Nobody but Google. Let us ponder the implications of this... Now take into consideration the actions of the two parties and their motivations to do so...

Ahh... I declare Google innocent. *head explode*

Re:Uh-huh (1)

rts008 (812749) | more than 4 years ago | (#29236715)

That is exactly what I was thinking when I RTFA. (yeah, yeah, I know...and no, I'm not new here)

The other statement that jumped out at me from TFA, was this:

Publishers in a number of countries have complained about Google News, saying few readers bother to click through from the blurbs to their own Web sites.

"live by the sword, die by the sword" seems to apply here.

They (news media) have been playing games with soundbites for long enough, now that's what most people are used to.
The blurbs give them that soundbite summary that they have been trained to expect...why would you expect them to actually click on the link to actually RTFA?

You see it here on /. every day.

simple (2, Funny)

jd2112 (1535857) | more than 4 years ago | (#29237735)

Just incorporate the word 'boobies' into the title of all articles.

Re:Uh-huh (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29242191)

Exactly my thought. They are pissed because Google won't tell them how to game the search results. Sadly, this seems to be the standard business model anymore; don't compete, figure out how to cheat!

Quid pro quo... (3, Insightful)

argent (18001) | more than 4 years ago | (#29235067)

Are the newspapers going to provide similar transparency for the coverage they provide local businesses?

SEO (1)

sexconker (1179573) | more than 4 years ago | (#29235091)

Can't they just throw a few bucks at the SEO scumbags and call it a day?

Re:SEO (4, Insightful)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 4 years ago | (#29235113)

This seems to be the SEO scumbags, demanding that the state step in to make their jobs easier.

Re:SEO (1)

140Mandak262Jamuna (970587) | more than 4 years ago | (#29235395)

This seems to be the SEO scumbags, demanding that the state step in to make their jobs easier.

This seems to be the SEO scumbags, demanding that the state step in to make their jobs easier ^H^H^H^H^H possible

There! corrected it for you.

Re:SEO (1)

ukyoCE (106879) | more than 4 years ago | (#29235589)

Is there a law that requires that their job be possible?

Especially when "their job" equates to "gaming the results of another company's business"?

Re:SEO (1)

dougisfunny (1200171) | more than 4 years ago | (#29238111)

No, but there will be.

How about they hone their content (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29235103)

To relate the facts surrounding each news story in the best way possible. After a while, people will seek them out.

Exactly The Way It Should Be (5, Insightful)

Nom du Keyboard (633989) | more than 4 years ago | (#29235105)

newspapers are unable to hone their content to try to earn more revenue from online advertising.

This is exactly the way it should be. You shouldn't write news in order to garner more ad revenue. By keeping this secret, Google is doing it's part to protect the integrity of those hacks who would alter the news -- otherwise known as Selling Out -- to be whatever paid the best. When that happens then we've all lost -- including the newspapers that will become nothing more than the new Tabloid Press.

Re:Exactly The Way It Should Be (2, Insightful)

Shagg (99693) | more than 4 years ago | (#29235149)

Yeah, how dare Google hide the rules so that they can't "game" the system. I'm surprised the newspapers could even complain about it with a straight face.

Re:Exactly The Way It Should Be (1)

decipher_saint (72686) | more than 4 years ago | (#29235465)

Actually, I'm pretty damned sure that's how the newspaper industry works...

Re:Exactly The Way It Should Be (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29235499)

I don't know; if the newspaper's purpose is to make money and they are able to maximize their money making ability, then it sounds like a win for them. Do papers print tabloid stories because people want them or do people want papers because they print tabloid stories? If you don't print these stories, less people buy your paper and you go under. If you do print these stories, you are a sell out but you survive. I think when push comes to shove most people will choose survival.

Re:Exactly The Way It Should Be (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29235615)

So what you're saying is that newspapers should write the things that people want to read?

Create a useful, information-rich site, and write pages that clearly and accurately describe your content.

Source [google.com]

I don't know how much more succinctly Google can state that.

Re:Exactly The Way It Should Be (1)

Attila Dimedici (1036002) | more than 4 years ago | (#29235745)

The problem isn't just news. If people know enough about Google's criteria to satisfy these news organizations, Google's search results will be less useful. There are a lot of people out there who would use knowledge of Google's page rank system to turn up in my searches even when they have nothing to do with what I am looking for. I already run into this when I can't remember the correct "industry"** term for what I am looking for.


**With "industry" meaning whatever industry is relevant to the particular search I am running at the time.

Re:Exactly The Way It Should Be (2, Informative)

MRe_nl (306212) | more than 4 years ago | (#29236963)

Newspapers have suffered badly since the collapse of their previous business model of selling readers to advertisers on a local monopoly basis. The replacement models appear to involve phlogiston, caloric and luminiferous aether.

"We have to educate people that free doesn't work, particularly for us," said Vanessa Thorpe of the Guardian Media Group. "I tried an advertorial repeating several times that nothing will be free any more, to magic it into happening. I also subtly implied the Pirate Bay were Nazis -- HITLER! HITLER! HITLER! -- so we'll see if we can make that one fly too."

Publishers have also explored the notion of getting Google to pay its "fair share" for so parasitically leading people to newspapers' websites. The Wikimedia Foundation promptly started billing journalists for their reprints from Wikipedia. "We feel this is completely unfair," said Tom Curley of the Associated Press, "as real news stories spring forth from the heads of accredited reporters in an immaculate creation from nothingness."

That's the point (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29235133)

"Because Google does not disclose the criteria for ranking news articles or search results, he said, newspapers are unable to hone their content to try to earn more revenue from online advertising."

This is exactly why Google will never disclose their raking criteria. The last thing they want is for people to 'hone' their content to drive per-site revenue. It's bad enough they have to worry about SEO companies trying to game the system. Exposing the ranking system would effectively invalidate it. You go down that path and people stop trusting the neutrality of the search engine. At which point Google might as well close up shop as an untrusted search engine is an unused search engine. Just ask Microsoft.

Re:That's the point (2, Insightful)

mollog (841386) | more than 4 years ago | (#29236153)

"...an untrusted search engine is an unused search engine. Just ask Microsoft."

LOL, I was already thinking of Microsoft's failures while reading your response when I read that line. Too funny.

I think this might turn out to be why Microsoft will never be competitive with Google; the whole trust thing. Even if a person or company does not have any history with Microsoft, they'll quickly come to realize that you have to pay to play with Microsoft. And there goes credibility.

Google search is not a product (5, Insightful)

101010_or_0x2A (1001372) | more than 4 years ago | (#29235203)

it is a free web based service. they are not required to publish anything regarding their algorithm, let alone making it understandable by non CS folk. Google search does not ship with any OS, nor does it insert itself as the default search engine, browsers do that. If people dont like it, use Bing or whatever. The argument of * most people *choose* to use Google, they need not * therefore Google must supply all necessary informtion that we ask of them so that we can tune our product to rank higher makes no sense, and I wonder if any law can uphold this. The "Italian competition authorities" will have a tough time justifying how a free service with no coersion of any sort to force a user to use their product can be anti-competitive

Re:Google search is not a product (1)

Jaysyn (203771) | more than 4 years ago | (#29235267)

And they'd have an even harder time actually enforcing it.

Re:Google search is not a product (1)

NoOneInParticular (221808) | more than 4 years ago | (#29237267)

I think in this particular case, the publishers are accusing Google of using their monopoly in search to obtain one in news aggregation. When you opt out of news aggregation, they claim that Google 'opts them out' of search. So, what they are claiming is that Google is gaming the pagerank algorithm to their own ends, something that can be checked by auditors.

Google has a de facto monopoly in search. Realistically, no business can afford to be blacklisted by Google. That this is due to quality (and inertia) does not give Google the right to obtain monopolies elsewhere. I doubt that Google actually is using these Microsoftesque tactics that they are accused of, but the complaint sounds valid, and if they can show that this happened the plaintiffs have a case. I guess that if this goes far enough, the Italian justice system will, typically in a decade or so, decide to let the system be audited.

In all this, whether the service is free or not, or whether the user can change or not is irrelevant.

Everyone knows how Google sorts search results... (2, Insightful)

clone53421 (1310749) | more than 4 years ago | (#29235319)

Google ranks pages based on what people are searching for. The obvious way to get pagehits from Google is to, ahem, write news that people are interested in.

Anything else and you're just trying to game the system.

Re:Everyone knows how Google sorts search results. (1)

Monkeedude1212 (1560403) | more than 4 years ago | (#29235965)

There's also an algorithm that will rank things by relevance to your search, what the tags are on the link, such and such.

For example, if you search "NEWS"
the word News is the only tag it searches for, thus whoever has the most page hits gets it. You'll notice, Google news is not #1. So they aren't cheating.

If you type, "Canada News"
Now it searches for something with Canada as a High Relevance point, with slightly less on the News Point, but both. Those Web sites whose tags are "Canada, News, ..." in that order will come up first.

If you type "News Canada"
It reverses their relevancy, and some different results come up, mostly just different orders.

How Relevancy is derived for both the Search String and the Tags is unreleased - thus News Sites don't know how to Tag their sites for maximum relevancy.

Re:Everyone knows how Google sorts search results. (1)

clone53421 (1310749) | more than 4 years ago | (#29236061)

How Relevancy is derived for both the Search String and the Tags is unreleased - thus News Sites don't know how to Tag their sites for maximum relevancy.

Logically.

Re:Everyone knows how Google sorts search results. (1)

bloodhawk (813939) | more than 4 years ago | (#29240085)

The system is already well and truly gamed. The best way at the moment is not to write the best news but to hire professional web companies that specialise in ensuring your pages are in the top hits. I could understand if google were actually making a good effort at preventing such gaming but they aren't.

mopd up (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29235353)

False Premise (1)

tomhudson (43916) | more than 4 years ago | (#29235463)

" Ad revenue on the Web is directly proportional to the size of the audience"

That would only be true if every ad was the same price. Even ads that use different metrics vary inside their own class. Ads that are sold on a PPV (pay per view) vary - so do ads sold on a PPC or PPA (pay per click, pay per action) basis. Then there's the value based on the site.

Just one more example of how the dead-tree crowd still, after almost 2 decades, doesn't get it.

Biased and misleading summary - read TFA (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29235551)

Not sure why I still bother reading Slashdot (less and less often), with such biased summaries. If you actually take the time to read the original article (and maybe read the story from other sources as well), you'll find out that the main complaint of the italian publishers is NOT that the PageRank algorhitm is secret.

They accuse Google of dropping them out of their search results (or at least lowering their pagerank) if they ask Google to remove their articles from Google News. So the accusation is abuse of a dominant position.

Basically they find Google News to compete with them, because it takes the news from them (for free), readers don't bother clicking the link to read the full original article, so when a reader clicks on an ad, the revenue stays with Google and not the original publisher. So far, fair enough (?). The problem (and the core of the accusation) is that the publishers suspect that when they ask Google to not include their articles in Google News, Google also removes them from their normal search results (or lowers them in PageRank). Google denies this.

The core of the problem is that Google, starting from a role of search engine, is now starting to compete with its own customers, by entering their market. And it is using its dominant position in the search market to get an advantage.

Another example is in Australia, where the two main real estate listing web sites (Domain and RealEstate) have threatened to cancel all their advertising on Google, when they heard that Google was planning to launch its own real estate listing aggregation service. The story is here: http://www.businessday.com.au/small-business/smallbiz-marketing/google-faces-property-ads-war-20090727-dy0j.html

Other countries (quoted in the same article on the NY Times) are seeing their publishers up in arms against Google.

Slashdot, get some decent editors.

Re:Biased and misleading summary - read TFA (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29236137)

Clearly you've never used Google news because it only shows a summary of the article. If you actually click the link, it takes you to the actual web page the article is on.....I'm not sure why you bother reading either

Re:Biased and misleading summary - read TFA (1)

joaobranco (55662) | more than 4 years ago | (#29236169)

They accuse Google of dropping them out of their search results (or at least lowering their pagerank) if they ask Google to remove their articles from Google News. So the accusation is abuse of a dominant position.

As far as the newspapers are concerned, news search and web search are separate business, but I doubt google should be forced to folllow the same definition. Abuse of dominant position requires one to have monopoly power (granted, google has it on web search and plausibly also on news search) but also deliberately using that power to somehow hinder competitors. I am not sure that google should be required to keep newspapers on one index while removing it from other or to prevent changes on one index to be reflected on another (why should a company be required to keep completed isolated indexes?).

Google not evil enough (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29236195)

They accuse Google of dropping them out of their search results (or at least lowering their pagerank) if they ask Google to remove their articles from Google News.

I *wish* Google would do this when the record companies try to squeeze them for more money. Just blocking all the videos on Youtube in unlicenced territories was not strong enough. They should have completely deindexed all the artist's webpages too.

Maybe it would be abuse, but the publishers were abusing their monopoly first, and turnabout is fair play.

Re:Biased and misleading summary - read TFA (1)

exley (221867) | more than 4 years ago | (#29236511)

Not sure why I still bother reading Slashdot (less and less often), with such biased summaries.

Fully agreed on that one. If I had to pick the one thing that annoys me the most about Slashdot these days, it's the constant editorializing in the summaries. Tends to happen with some "editors" more often than others, but I won't name names.

Seriously though, leave the commentary to the ensuing discussions where it belongs. And if you can't do that, then at least change the site's tagline to "Opinion for nerds. Stuff that matters to people who've already decided."

Re:Biased and misleading summary - read TFA (1)

Seakip18 (1106315) | more than 4 years ago | (#29236555)

I assume you're argument is that Google has every right to ads on the page going to the news, but nothing more. The problem at hand shows that Google has gotten so good at aggregating the meta-data about any topic that they can actually use that to the aggregate the data itself, whether it be news, real estate, restaurants etc.

Think about it:
Google already knows search patterns of people searching for travel plans and airfare. They're in a good position to start using that information to find the cheapest fares, hotel and rentals and, without "evil" intentions, start crowding companies like Orbitz, etc.

And this is all fine and well as long as Google is the one obtaining this data on their own dime. The problem you are getting at is that Google is not paying the original aggregator for the original data.

For the realestate article though, the original host of the data(a realestate agent's website) will still get a hit and a possible revenue from their primary income source: selling or renting real estate. Google makes some money of adsense from providing the link to direct data.

Unfortunately for realestate.com.au, they might get left in the dust because their data aggregation algorithm pales in comparison to that of Google and they can't compete with them. Worse, why are they paying a competitor to hopefully promote them over a free service? That just doesn't make any sense.

Now, if Google starts pimping their own service over that of paying customers, as IS this case of that article..well...What I'd do is don't do business with Google, watch as their service fails because of the lack of reliable & meaningful data and hope they don't "tweak" the search results to eliminate you from the search results. Then cash out when Google writes you a 8+ figure check to buy you and your data aggregation company out.

If they actually do a better job than you and force you out of business...well...I guess you're f'ed.

Sorry if this hardly makes sense....All this "meta" stuff is confusing and I'm about to head out for the day.

Re:Biased and misleading summary - read TFA (2, Insightful)

rawr_one (1474675) | more than 4 years ago | (#29236621)

I suspect this to be a consequence of Google's PageRank algorithm itself, though. Or, at least, part of it. The part that makes links from high PageRank sites bump up your own PageRank, specifically. You can't expect to demand Google (a site with high PageRank) to not link to your content and expect your PageRank to stay the same.

What they want is for Google to boost their PageRank to where it would be with the Google linklove, without wanting Google's linklove. Which seems like a perfectly unreasonable demand to me.

Re:Biased and misleading summary - read TFA (1)

joaobranco (55662) | more than 4 years ago | (#29237205)

What they want is for Google to boost their PageRank to where it would be with the Google linklove, without wanting Google's linklove. Which seems like a perfectly unreasonable demand to me.

Precisely. And that doesn't even assume that google probably trusts more the link data it gets from its own sites (which it controls) over the one from the public at large (therefore again boosting web search rank for the sites that are cited in google news or indeed, any google generated content...

Re:Biased and misleading summary - read TFA (1)

Ifni (545998) | more than 4 years ago | (#29239621)

Even more relevant is that I suspect a not insignificant portion of news results are displayed as features from the web search page. What I mean is that when I want news, I often just do a Google search for the topic on the regular Google search page (or, rather, from the Firefox Google search box), not the special Google News page. Google conveniently displays relevant news results before the search results (under the header "News results for X"). Hence, those news sources that allow Google to index them in the news repository get prime page real estate on the regular Google search page. As more people click through to these sources, their page rank goes up (i.e. more exposure = good). Asking Google to delist you from their news aggregation search page is unquestionably going to negatively impact your exposure, thus reducing your traffic. Reduced traffic = reduced relevance = lower page rank.

It's like saying "I want to eat 7 Big Macs a day, but Mac Donald's had better ensure I don't get obese and die of a heart attack". One is a natural consequence of the other, not an intentional abuse of power. The less you advertise, the less business you will garner. Delisting a news source from the world's most popular news aggregation service would be like Budweiser terminating all of its TV ads.

This is simply a "damned if you do ('we'll sue you for stealing our content') and damned if you don't ('we'll sue you for not showing our content')" scenario brought about by Google's deep pockets.

Re:Biased and misleading summary - read TFA (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29238517)

Google doesn't owe anyone anything. They do nothing abusive to lock people into services, and if anyone doesn't like how they do things, they're free to go elsewhere and it's insanely easy to do so.

Everything they do is for users, and the fact that they don't cater to business' demands is a GOOD thing, not a bad one.

So they're not abusing anything, and they're making life better for consumers. THERE IS NOTHING WRONG HERE. This is why you never hear users complaining about Google News, Google Real Estate, or the multitude of other things. It's always businesses like Microsoft (who pays people to influence policy and to astroturf in their favor), news cartels, etc.

Re:Biased and misleading summary - read TFA (1)

dissy (172727) | more than 4 years ago | (#29238927)

They accuse Google of dropping them out of their search results (or at least lowering their pagerank) if they ask Google to remove their articles from Google News. So the accusation is abuse of a dominant position.

That's even more hilarious!

They tell Google to stop linking to their stuff, and then are honestly surprised that Google stops linking to their stuff?!

To use a similar (but totally unrelated) comparison: If you stole money from me, and then later asked me for a beer, don't be so surprised when, despite the fact you have never stolen a beer from me, and despite the fact beer is different than money, I still do not loan you a beer.

Re:Biased and misleading summary - read TFA (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29240039)

My thoughts exactly. When I saw "whining" in the title, and "I'm sure their motives are completely altruistic." in the description, you pretty much know you won't find any facts in the article, and everything will be distorted to show one side in completely bad light...

Even if the submitter is right, and the publishers ARE in the wrong - that doesn't really matter. A good news item should let the reader come to their own conclusion. Frankly, Slashdot, you should filter crap like this out.

Re:Biased and misleading summary - read TFA (1)

cavebison (1107959) | more than 4 years ago | (#29240367)

The summary is completely wide of the mark, agreed.

I tend not to read the summaries, I read TFA. That's what they're there for. /. is just an aggregator after all. :) Occasionally I read the comments, when I specifically want to see what other people's approaches are to the subject matter. The only reason I stick around here is the quality of the discussion (and jokes).

good (1)

JustNiz (692889) | more than 4 years ago | (#29235573)

>> newspapers are unable to hone their content to try to earn more revenue from online advertising.

I'm pleased Google don't publish their strategy for ordering search hits. If they did, the newspapers would just sacrifice everything to get a high Google ranking so there would be an immediate and massive drop of content quality and readability.

Just cut off Italy (1)

BassMan449 (1356143) | more than 4 years ago | (#29235819)

Google is a US company, I say they just cut off Italy all together. The lost revenue would probably be easily made up for in the easing of the regulatory hassle.

Re:Just cut off Italy (1)

pamar (538061) | more than 4 years ago | (#29236149)

Can you spell "bad precedent"? I knew you could...

grammarsearch (1)

gmermnstinsmermwords (1627107) | more than 4 years ago | (#29236043)

i propose that google release the information in a more document, paper in envelope, by courier, wax sealed way to compel these jerks that searching google for "how google searches" is not above them

How does an Italian get into an honest buisness? (1)

XPeter (1429763) | more than 4 years ago | (#29236053)

Through the window.

$NEWSPAPER wants free money from Google (1)

David Gerard (12369) | more than 4 years ago | (#29236075)

$NEWSPAPER has asked the Government to examine Google News and other content aggregators, claiming they contribute insufficiently to their income.

"The newspapers put their content up on the web for free and then Google, the freeloading bastards, tell people where to find it. We told them to pay up or stop using our stuff, and they said OK, they'd stop using our stuff!

"We need the Government to bring back balance, 'balance' defined as being able to make them give us money because we want it. You'd think the Internet wasn't invented to give newspapers and record companies free money!"

$NEWSPAPER argues that traffic from search engines doesn't make up the cost of producing the content. "Ad revenue has collapsed, so search engine traffic doesn't bring in enough views to pay for itself. Our inability to sell ads is clearly Google's problem."

$NEWSPAPER suggests the exploration of new models that "require fair acknowledgement of the value that our content creates, both on our own site through advertising and 'at the edges' in the world of search and aggregation. Basically, they should just give us money because we want it. And the music industry too. How about a bailout? Go on, gi's it."

Illustration: "My preciousssss!" [today.com]

Honing Content? (3, Insightful)

HalAtWork (926717) | more than 4 years ago | (#29236769)

I guess "Honing Content" is doublespeak for "gaming the system" which means it just raises the bar so that smaller publishers won't be as visible. I guess these publishers are upset because they're on equal footing. What customers want is a product without all the marketing, but what these greedy entities are trying to do is make a lot of marketing with no product.

What is the compromise? Do we come up with a standard way of ranking that can be exploited much faster than we can update the standard to prevent this? I think here, the product that Google is giving customers is the method that they are aggregating content. Perhaps these publishers would be better off going to a competitor, but if customers don't prefer the competitor's method of aggregating content, they will come back to Google, which is a sign that Google is doing things right.

I don't think publishers should have a say on the method that Google presents its index, because Google does not have a monopoly on indexes. I think they are just targeting Google because it is popular (and not by any anti-competitive practices, correct me if I'm wrong), and they are not able to increase their ROI without unfairly gaining an advantage. These publishers really do seem to be whining.

In other words... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29236825)

In other words, "We're not able to exploit your algorithms to manipulate our search ranking in ways that don't relate to the actual content of our news articles. We want to appear higher on the rankings even though our articles have no content. Therefore we demand you release the details of your proprietary algorithms so that we can more easily manipulate them to gain an unfair advantage." Does that about sum it up?

Re:In other words... (1)

palegray.net (1195047) | more than 4 years ago | (#29238319)

I think you forgot the part about Google paying the Italians protection money.

"Nice search engine you got there. Shame if something was to happen to it."

Yahoo News matters more (1)

Colonel Korn (1258968) | more than 4 years ago | (#29238581)

Just a couple weeks ago I saw a report stating that despite Google's search supremacy, Yahoo was still the biggest "portal" on the web, followed oddly enough by AOL, I believe. I think that Italy's questionable complaint is barking up the wrong tree. I suppose they know that Google's got the big bucks, and remember that Italy is run by a megalomaniacal media tycoon.

He said?? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29241165)

Who the fuck is he??? Great /. journalism in the summary, it once again really sucks ass. Hire an editor, douches!

They should hire some spammers.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29243865)

The lack of knowledge of Google ranking doesn't seem to affect the ability of malware distributors to 'focus' their efforts on their audience."

And I'm sure that they would be willing to assit the news people--for a price...in fact, they could purchase software on the black/gray market to perform such optimizations.

And, of course, the demographic any online merchant needs to hit is "everyone" since advertising revenue depends upon traffic.

"Italy" = Berlusconi (for now) (1)

Jim Efaw (3484) | more than 4 years ago | (#29246155)

For those who don't remember: Italy's Prime Minister, Silvio Berlusconi, owns Mediaset, the biggest broadcast and media company in Italy, and as prime minister, he also controls the government broadcaster. More of Berlusconi's "insightful" ideas on Slashdot here:

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