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Newspapers Reconsidering Google News

Zonk posted more than 7 years ago | from the i-guess-they-hate-traffic dept.

Google 172

News.com ran an article earlier in the week talking about the somewhat strained relationship between newspapers and Google. Google's stance is firm: 'We don't pay to index news content.' Just the same, newspapers with an online presence are starting to reconsider their relationship with Google, the value of linking, and the realities of internet economics. Talk of paying for content, as well as ongoing court cases, has observers considering both sides of the issue: "While some in newspaper circles point to the Belgium court ruling and the content deals with AP and AFP as a sign Google may be willing to pay for content, Google fans and bloggers interpreted the news quite differently. To them, it was obvious that the Belgium group had agreed to settle--even after winning its court case--because they discovered that they needed Google's traffic more than the fees that could be generated from news snippets. Observers note that with newspapers receiving about 25 percent of their traffic from search engines, losing Google's traffic had to sting."

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Not a big concern. (4, Insightful)

Khaed (544779) | more than 7 years ago | (#19297885)

It more bugs me how many sites in google news are exact copies of the same thing. Makes finding more than one story somewhat of a bitch.

Re:Not a big concern. (5, Insightful)

Gorshkov (932507) | more than 7 years ago | (#19297901)

It more bugs me how many sites in google news are exact copies of the same thing. Makes finding more than one story somewhat of a bitch.
What's even worse, as far as I'm concerned, is clicking on wildly different headlines in different major newspapers .... and finding the exact same AP (or other wireservice) story.

Kinda makes you wonder about the "journalism is hard" comment in the article.

Re:Not a big concern. (5, Interesting)

Jenna555 (1107979) | more than 7 years ago | (#19298037)

In my experience as a journalist (a while back) its amazing to find out how much newspapers rely on PR wire services and direct contact with spokespeople. There is one paradigm shift that can impact newspapers massively in this regard. Blogs that cover news (and blog owners that are finding alternative uses [yedda.com] for their on line properties) get ever more dominant.

Re:Not a big concern. (4, Funny)

JonathanR (852748) | more than 7 years ago | (#19298133)

And Slashdot will ensure you get to read it, if you missed it the first time...

Re:Not a big concern. (4, Insightful)

ObsessiveMathsFreak (773371) | more than 7 years ago | (#19298401)

Kinda makes you wonder about the "journalism is hard" comment in the article.

Oh I'm sure that real journalism is quite hard. There's just not very many real journalists.

Re:Not a big concern. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19298717)

Idem dito for Belgium, where almost every online newspaper exactly copies the same Belga [belga.be] story. I can't remember how many times I tried to find more background information on something, only to see the same text duplicated word for word.

For breaking-news stuff, you're better off visiting Wikipedia.

Re:Not a big concern. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19297911)

That says more about the AP and the UPI than it does Google.

Re:Not a big concern. (3, Interesting)

larry bagina (561269) | more than 7 years ago | (#19297967)

It makes me wonder why google doesn't partner with AP/UPI/Knight Ridder/Reuters, etc and cut out the middleman. Or how long it will be until they do.

Re:Not a big concern. (1)

zappepcs (820751) | more than 7 years ago | (#19298167)

You are right on the money there, but Google only 'indexes' the world's information, they do not channel it... a small but important difference, though I'd like to see the source of the article highlighted before going there. If three say from AP and one from UPI, then I know that I really only need to read two of the stories. Maybe someday

Re:Not a big concern. (3, Interesting)

iminplaya (723125) | more than 7 years ago | (#19298025)

No, actually AP and UPI are fine. The problem is that so many rely on them. It's very economical for the papers not to have to hire reporters. I personally don't care for it because I want as many takes on a story as possible, but now even the papers from China and Al Jazeera are just using them sometimes. Maybe so they can get the Google hits also. I guess the bloggers will have to fill in the gaps. But I still have a thing, justified or not, about regular reporters being a bit more leashed in by real professional editors and stuff. I kind of like to have a local paper's take. Something about familiarity with people you "know". Call me old fashioned, I supposed, but that's what I grew up with. I still suffer from conditioned reflex like everybody else. Don't take to mean I wish the bloggers to go away. They are very necessary, a bit more so with all the corporate consolidation happening now. It's just that there's so many of them. Separating the wheat from the chaff just became my job all of a sudden. Life's too short for this. It says a lot about Google that AP and UPI get most of the top hits. That's where the money is.

Re:Not a big concern. (1)

Hal_Porter (817932) | more than 7 years ago | (#19298267)

No, actually AP and UPI are fine. The problem is that so many rely on them ... even the papers from China and Al Jazeera are just using them sometimes

The CIA should put agents into AP and UPI to pick stories in a way that corrodes competing unfree civilisations by encouraging them to liberalise. Popular US culture and feminism for example, or the benefits of property rights. Or economic statistics that show Taiwan is doing better economically. I guess it's a kind of trolling, drawing attention to facts that hostile tyrannies need to supress.

Sort of like a 21st century version of the Information Research Department.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/George_Orwell#Ninetee n_Eighty-Four_and_final_years [wikipedia.org]

Re:Not a big concern. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19298377)

Your solution to competing unfree (nice Orwellian touch) civilizations is to use government agencies to liberalise the news. I guess you think your civilization is perfect and should be implemented worldwide at any cost, disrespecting any local traditions or cultures by supplanting your own views. A true modern day missionary. I think you should re-read 1984 and consider what part the Ministry of Truth played.

Re:Not a big concern. (2, Interesting)

Hal_Porter (817932) | more than 7 years ago | (#19298741)

I guess you think your civilization is perfect and should be implemented worldwide at any cost, disrespecting any local traditions or cultures by supplanting your own views

No, I just think that China would be improved if it had free elections. And all those Islamic countries would be improved if they had a culture which respected the rights of people other than rich, straight men - probably expecting a Jeffersonian democracy there is wishful thinking at this point. More to the point, not only would these changes be better for the Chinese and Arabs, they would make the world a safer place for the US and its allies.

Incidentally, don't you see the irony of arguing anonymously on the internet that local traditions like secret police torturing people for discussing politics should be respected? The only reason that you're free to do it is because your ancestors were willing to kill and die to stamp out those sorts of traditions.

I think you should re-read 1984 and consider what part the Ministry of Truth played.

You realise that Orwell actually worked for the IRD and other propaganda bodies which did exactly what I suggested, right? Both against the Fascists in WWII and the Communists in the Cold War. Incidentally 1984 is set in hellish world where people allowed totalitarian movements to take over everywhere so it shouldn't be entirely unexpected that he would do this, if you actually understand what it is about.

Maybe you should read this

http://www.orwell.ru/library/articles/pacifism/eng lish/e_patw [orwell.ru]

Re:Not a big concern. (1)

TapeCutter (624760) | more than 7 years ago | (#19298729)

If that fails we can always ban unfreindly newspapers in Iraq and bomb Al Jazeera's headquarters.

Re:Not a big concern. (1)

Hal_Porter (817932) | more than 7 years ago | (#19299089)

Suppose you were in the occupation authority of Germany after World War II and Völkischer Beobachter [wikipedia.org] decided to keep publishing and encouraged Germans to kill American troops. Would you ban it?

"Wall Street Journal" is the right model. (4, Informative)

reporter (666905) | more than 7 years ago | (#19298043)

The conflict between the newspapers and Google is due to financial issues. With nearly 100% of news being free, newspaper revenue is declining rapidly. The newspaper companies just want Google to pay them for the free news.

However, Google has no legal obligation to do so. Google is not causing the newspapers to lose money. Google is just a pointer to the news. The news organizations are the ones who actually provide the news -- for free.

So, the solution is obvious. The "Wall Street Journal" (WSJ) has already implemented the solution: charge for news. The readership of the WSJ has declined little since the start of the Internet Age. Revenue has also been relatively stable.

Now, look at the "Los Angeles Times". Every bit of news and opinion at the "Times" is free. Why would anyone subscribe to the "Times" when she can get the news for free?

Re:"Wall Street Journal" is the right model. (4, Insightful)

Kadin2048 (468275) | more than 7 years ago | (#19298195)

So, the solution is obvious. The "Wall Street Journal" (WSJ) has already implemented the solution: charge for news. The readership of the WSJ has declined little since the start of the Internet Age. Revenue has also been relatively stable.

Now, look at the "Los Angeles Times". Every bit of news and opinion at the "Times" is free. Why would anyone subscribe to the "Times" when she can get the news for free?


Bingo. I think you've also touched, indirectly, on the bigger issue: original content. If you don't have any original content, then you can't well charge admission! Papers that basically just re-run the same wire service reports as everyone else, can't adopt the WSJ's business model, because there are lots of other, cheaper (free) sources for the same thing.

What we are about to see, is a big contraction in the newspaper market. Honestly I don't think this is a bad thing. It's been a long time in coming. Most newspapers -- and I'm not talking about the LA Times here (I don't have a clue about them) -- have long been a 'news dissemination' service, and not a real 'news reporting' service. They don't really make any content themselves, beyond pretty basic local stuff that a smart highschool Junior could write up. Everything else is just wire service stuff. These are the papers that aren't going to make it, or are going to have to radically change shape in order to survive.

The Internet makes the dissemination of information relatively cheap and easy. What it doesn't do is change the cost of creating the material originally (well, in some cases it might, but not as dramatically as it affects the distribution side). If you're nothing but an information distributor, you're in trouble. But if you're an information creator, then you still have something you can market.

Everyone talks about newspapers going under, but you never hear anyone (seriously) talking about the AP or UPI going under. They're not going to, and neither are the big papers that actually do some serious reporting and content-creation -- although they might have to become more like wire services themselves, less "newspapers" and more 'information brokers' or 'content assemblers' (taking lots of raw data and presenting it in a format that people find pleasing and useful, and are incidentally willing to pay for).

There's no shortage of demand for news, and that means there's always going to be money for the people who are really in the core of the business. It's the ancillary stuff that's going to go down, and well it should.

Re:"Wall Street Journal" is the right model. (2, Informative)

yelvington (8169) | more than 7 years ago | (#19299573)

Everyone talks about newspapers going under, but you never hear anyone (seriously) talking about the AP or UPI going under.


UPI went bankrupt years ago and has changed hands several times. The company that now owns the UPI brand actually is an agent of the Unification Church (also known as "the Moonies"). Hardly any newspapers use UPI these days.

The Associated Press is a cooperative owned and controlled by American newspapers. The AP has gone through a massive restructuring over the last several years as it scrambles to adjust to the realities of news distribution in an age when distribution is near-free. Demand for its core services from its owner-members is declining as those newspapers themselves shift from global to local content focus. Many editors of smaller newspapers are contemplating dropping the AP entirely. They're not ready to do that, but they're thinking about it.

As for the Wall Street Journal's economic model, it's not relevant to a discussion of general-circulation newspapers.

WSJ sells essential business information to subscribers who don't pay with their own money (they typically use company expense accounts). No general-interest local newspaper anywhere in the world has been able to make such a model work in its own market. Local civic news may be essential to the function of a democracy, but that doesn't mean anybody wants to pay for it.

Old models and old assumptions -- such as those advocated by "reporter" -- do not work today. Newspapers that do not change their fundamental approach to coverage are losing audience to other media choices that didn't exist 20 years ago. Attempting to charge for content only accelerates that loss.

I don't mean that newspapers are doomed, but those that fail to change and adapt to the new environment are doomed. The ones that adapt can thrive. But the necessary changes are not small and a lot of people -- including many older subscribers -- aren't going to like those changes.

Large newspapers are at highest risk, as they are unable for economic and cultural reasons to cover the kind of hyperlocal news that might rescue their falling readership numbers. As their circulations sag they become perilously close to catastrophic failure of their mass-media business model. You can't run a mass medium if you don't have mass.

Small newspapers, neighborhood-level newspapers, are extraordinarily strong. And there's significant growth in free-circulation newspapers both in the U.S. and international markets.
So this is not a problem of print versus electronic distribution. Print still works. But old assumptions about content and business models do not work.

I do this for a living. [yelvington.com] I'm a strategist for a newspaper company, and I do not advocate blocking Google from spidering local content. I do advocate blocking the spiders from wire feeds, which we have done for years using a robots.txt directive.

Reuters was just recently bought out (n/t) (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19299629)

Reuters was just recently bought out. Would that be a hint?

Re:"Wall Street Journal" is the right model. (1)

rm999 (775449) | more than 7 years ago | (#19298269)

"Now, look at the "Los Angeles Times". Every bit of news and opinion at the "Times" is free. Why would anyone subscribe to the "Times" when she can get the news for free?"

My friend has an online account to the Economist, and offered me his username/password. I love the Economist, and chose to subscribe to the print edition. Why? Not for moral reasons (that's a nice side effect), but because I like to read the newspaper in print. I don't want to stare at a computer more than I have to, and it's much harder to find what you are interested in. The economist is a weekly newspaper, I can only imagine how much more pronounced this is with a daily. Imagine looking through 50 articles on the computer every day

Re:"Wall Street Journal" is the right model. (1)

grrrl (110084) | more than 7 years ago | (#19298287)

Imagine looking through 50 articles on the computer every day

Try RSS - I look through far more than 50 articles a day, but only have to read in-depth those that catch my attention. The benefit of a good RSS reader (I use Vienna) being that articles are only listed in one place (not dynamically all over the page like some newspaper sites) and you know what you've looked at (by changing the article status to read - eg like email).

Re:"Wall Street Journal" is the right model. (2, Interesting)

value_added (719364) | more than 7 years ago | (#19298271)

The conflict between the newspapers and Google is due to financial issues. With nearly 100% of news being free, newspaper revenue is declining rapidly.

Whether (or how) the online presence of newspapers generates profits is the subject of the article. It's a separate and distinct issue from the declining revenues of newspapers, which, for the most part, are a decline in classifieds revenue. Declining circulations play a role, but to a far less extent than you'd like to believe. Newspapers are still very very profitable (more so than most businesses), but lack the increasing revenues that Wall Street demands. Hardly surprising that the LA Times, for example, is now reverting to being privately held.

The newspaper companies just want Google to pay them for the free news.

Vaguely correct for ambiguous values of correct. You're talking about "access" to news stories. News isn't free. It comes from reporters who are paid to investigate, research and write stories. Most reporting is still done by newspapers. Even broadcast (television) news is a product of newspaper reporting. If newspapers can't afford to pay their reporting and editorial staff, everyone suffers. In the extreme cases, you either end up with "local reporting" (consisting mostly of puff pieces on insignicant issues), or recyled headlines from wire services (who are also under similar budgetary concerns).

If you can't see where this is heading, I'd suggest watching a few hours of celebrity news programming (consisting mostly of stock footage) on TV and asking yourself whether you feel informed about the world you live in. Or, if you're up to it, ask the Really Big Question of how a democracy can function without an informed electorate.

As to the subject of whether the newspapers deserve some cut from Google's advertising revenues, well, no. I don't think they do. If that was your point, then we're in agreement.

Re:"Wall Street Journal" is the right model. (2, Interesting)

UnanimousCoward (9841) | more than 7 years ago | (#19299329)

Maybe I'm being a luddite, but I want my kids to have access to a physical newspaper at the breakfast table w/o having them having to go online. So, even though I can get the NYT for free online, I'll pay for it to have the tree-killing version too. The non-luddite in me also reaps the benefits of access to NYT historical content which is available to me since I take the tree-killing version...

Re:Not a big concern. (1)

TapeCutter (624760) | more than 7 years ago | (#19298677)

"It more bugs me how many sites in google news are exact copies of the same thing. Makes finding more than one story somewhat of a bitch."

On the contrary I think that stories that have put in their own research/spin can be easily identified by scrolling through google's list of snipets. Why do you think content producers both love and hate google?

News...PAPERS? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19297897)

NewsPAPERS or online news websites?

Do no evil, despite a monopoly? (4, Interesting)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 7 years ago | (#19297909)

This actually offers an interesting question: Can you dare to sue google if you depend on page visits? Can you actually survive it when Google decides to "zero" you, to make you nonexistant in their searches? Google is, after all, THE way people use when trying to find something. Sure, there are other search engines, but Google is pretty much the dominating factor in internet search.

Not being listed in Google means that your competitor gets all the hits you might have gotten.

Can you then dare to stand up against Google? What if Google decides to take the stance of "play by our rules or we'll make sure nobody finds you anymore"?

Not really a comforting thought, when someone can dictate how the internet has to run...

If a tree falls, but Google doesn't index it... (1, Interesting)

Nymz (905908) | more than 7 years ago | (#19297947)

If a tree falls in the forest, and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?
If a webpage is published online, and Google doesn't index it, does it still get found?

Re:If a tree falls, but Google doesn't index it... (2, Interesting)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 7 years ago | (#19297961)

I don't know the answer to the first one. But not being indexed by Google means your page impressions will suffer. Certainly people will still find you. Google is not a 100% monopoly. And nobody could keep me from displaying the link to my buddies and tell them "look, Google doesn't want you to see that".

But overall, I'd guess the hit would be considerable. Unless of course it becomes public enough that Google doesn't want you to see X's page, 'cause then pretty much every media outlet will cover the story and link you that way...

Re:If a tree falls, but Google doesn't index it... (1)

bytesex (112972) | more than 7 years ago | (#19297985)

If I told you a circle is a square, can it still be round ?

Re:If a tree falls, but Google doesn't index it... (1)

Nymz (905908) | more than 7 years ago | (#19298019)

From parent poster's sig

If a bear shits in the woods, and there's nobody there to hear it, does it make a sound ?

I can't tell you if it made a sound, but I bet I could find it with Google maps.

Re:If a tree falls, but Google doesn't index it... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19298681)

I think this would've been better: If a webpage is published online, and Google doesn't index it, does it actually exist?

Re:Do no evil, despite a monopoly? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19297989)

"Standing up to Google" aka "Biting the hand that feeds you"

Think about what you are saying. (3, Insightful)

WindBourne (631190) | more than 7 years ago | (#19298001)

Why would you sue Google in the first place? Perhaps because you are not as high up in the rankings as you believe that you should be? That is pretty much the ONLY reason why you would sue. So, assume that you then sue and Google de-lists you? So what? You are no worse off. However, to the best of my knowledge, Google has not de-listed anybody for suing them. OTH, if you sue them AND INSIST on being paid or Google not using your content, well, you are going to be de-listed. After all, Google can not pay everybody for doing their work for them. That is essentially what is happening with these companies. Then they find out that Google was HELPING them, not hurting them. Personally, I hope that Google will tell these companies to bugger off. Let them perish. To Google's credit, they have not been evil (just me in my thought).

And as far as being able to dictate, I fear Google far less than I do MS. Google has done no evil, where MS has been nothing but. The real issue is that Google can be toppled MUCH easier than MS will be. MS is losing ground on their OS-Office monopoly, but that is a very hard one to break. Even now, it will take Sun (and the OSS community) to do more work on OO to break the MS monopoly. As it is, Apple, Linux, and even Solaris (way to go schwartz) are making in-roads on the desktop.

Re:Think about what you are saying. (5, Insightful)

suv4x4 (956391) | more than 7 years ago | (#19298059)

Google has done no evil, where MS has been nothing but.

Hm, what a black-white stance. Oh wait, I get it, it's because of the slogan, right?
Heh. Kids. When will you grow up.

Google is so huge right now, you'll find people with all sorts of agenda inside. And the funny things is, many of them, at all levels, worked at Microsoft at some point. Some of them worked in Apple. Some of the people in Apple worked in Google. Some of the people in Microsoft worked in Apple or Google.

A corporation has no face. But, if it makes you feel better, you can keep putting faces on it. It makes it all so much simpler...

Corporations DO have faces and souls (3, Insightful)

WindBourne (631190) | more than 7 years ago | (#19298193)

The problem is that so many of you kids today do not work in companies which want to show them. Over the decades, I have worked at various companies because I was a contract coder. I have worked at USWest Advanced Tech., Bell labs (later Avaya), IBM Watson, NASA, and HP. Prior to that, I had a different career (microbio/geneticists) in which I worked at some interesting places including C.D.C.. I can tell you that ALL of these companies/gov. had faces and souls. While it is normally tied to the top ppl, that is not always true. For example, USWest was purely a RBOC mentality until they were taken over by qwest. Likewise, My place at Bell labs became Lucent and then Avaya. As bell Labs, it had some of the best and brightest. Over time, they left. Watson labs was interesting as I started there shortly after Uncle Lou took over. ppl were nervous, but excited about a chance to get back on track. And yes, they all had a face. That was due to the TOP managment's morals. Sadly, look at HP and IBM today and you can see why so many of the top execs are keeping quiet.

Now, as to the ppl at Google coming from MS, yes, some did. Hell, some of them came from Iraq. How much influence do any of them have? NOT MUCH. The do no evil is a top down mandate. Likewise, the MS approach to win at all costs is a top down approach. That is why e-mail gets "lost". Likewise, you see MS slaes throw their weight around (still) by telling re-sellers that they will do what MS wants. MS also tells politicians that if they bring in Linux or OO, that the next policitian will be from the opposite party. That is EVIL.
Does Google do any of that? Nope. Not at this time. But if the top execs change (or perhops does not change), then they will slowly become "evil".

Re:Think about what you are saying. (1)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 7 years ago | (#19298063)

How about 2 other reasons: First of all, the one that the news agency appearantly saw, i.e. that Google is "stealing" their content.

And second, how about you not enjoying the idea of Google keeping your outdated pages in Cache?

I'm sure, with a bit of pondering, one could come up with a few more reasons why they might not enjoy Google, and sue.

And I'd really love to hear how you'd plan to "topple" Google, should the need arise. I don't trust Google. But then, I don't trust any company that has a de facto monopoly position. No matter whether they abused it in the past.

Re:Think about what you are saying. (1)

WindBourne (631190) | more than 7 years ago | (#19298149)

Oh, I did not say that I trust Google. But so far, they have not been evil (excluding the china deal).

As to them having my data in cache, great. I say go for it. It means that it is one more way to reach my site. Likewise, they can use my content if it brings me more users. That is the name of the game, right? The funny thing is that most businesses and content developers would gladly give access to content if it brought them more customers.

So, you want to topple Google? Well, it is possible to do right now. The first thing is, that you need to get content. In addition, you need to direct traffic to your search engine. Of course, that will mean getting all the browsers to use you, not Google. But doing that would appear to be difficult, right? Wrong.

Here is something that I have been thinking of doing. Apache is the main webserver in http space (and I believe in https space). But one of the things that it lacks is a GOOD search engine. But you could easily create a module whose only purpose is to re-direct a search to some other search mechanism. The way that I have been thinking of doing this, is to allow URL like http://host/search [host] . And allow for sub dirs to be append to this (http://host/search/data/abcd when you were originally in http://host/data/abcd [host] ). This module could call a local search engine or a remote one. By default, when apache is installed, the search mechanism would then look at a file and randomly pick a search engine. If the installer wants to override, they can. They can pick a different remote search engine or they could install a local one (useful for doing a DB set-up). So what advantage would this have? It would allow for == considerations by web-servers for sending data around. From this point, you need to have a good engine, but at least you would have a fighting chance. Without it, you are pissing in wind by trying to convince the end-users to switch. I have even thought of several other approachs to how to beat Google. It is Possible. Beating MS with their illegal monopoly is the tough one. That requires exactly what is occuring; Lots of work over a LONG period of time by the industry. No one company can take them down. Sadly, they will remain an evil company.

Re:Think about what you are saying. (4, Insightful)

DrEldarion (114072) | more than 7 years ago | (#19298471)

How about 2 other reasons: First of all, the one that the news agency appearantly saw, i.e. that Google is "stealing" their content.
Robots.txt

And second, how about you not enjoying the idea of Google keeping your outdated pages in Cache?
Robots.txt

If you want to be listed in Google, you play by their rules. If you don't agree to those rules, you block them. It's simple.

Re:Think about what you are saying. (2, Insightful)

xtracto (837672) | more than 7 years ago | (#19298685)

How about 2 other reasons: First of all, the one that the news agency appearantly saw, i.e. that Google is "stealing" their content.
Robots.txt


LoL *chuckle*... Everytime someone comes up with that "the search engine is stealing my content" thing I cant help but laugh really hard... this "web page" content stealing is akin to someone paying $10,000 to put one of these huge ads panels in the street containing their "content" and then bitching because people *can* see it.

If you do not want your content to be seen then for gods sake do not put it in the internet...

Re:Think about what you are saying. (3, Insightful)

Alt321 (1056040) | more than 7 years ago | (#19298533)

"And as far as being able to dictate, I fear Google far less than I do MS. Google has done no evil, where MS has been nothing but."

With respect, I think that's short-sighted. While MS has done some shitty things ... I know where I stand with them. With Google, they present this rosy vision to all - and almost all fall before them.

What concerns me is that Google has far more potential to do "evil" now than MS. I fear that. Now, while this might sound alarmist, history suggests otherwise.

When everything is benign, customers/humanity has allowed things to happen as long as said customers/humanity are benefiting. And right now, we are. But things change. And when they do, they will have set the framework up in their favour.

Sorry, but anyone who thinks that Google is nothing more than just another corporate entity is in for a surprise. Google and MS may as well be blood brothers.

Re:Think about what you are saying. (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19299509)

"Better the devil you know, than the devil you don't." That's your philosophy, huh? Bet you voted for Bush in 2004, didn't you? Fuck you.

Re:Think about what you are saying. (-1, Flamebait)

freedom_india (780002) | more than 7 years ago | (#19298561)

I just installed Open Office and uninstalled it 3 hours later and reinstall MS Office 2000.
If this is the way Sun and O/S community is trying to replace MS Office, they have a loooong way to go.
MS Office 2000 is F-15A on steriods. Openoffice is a bit like the Messerschmitt Bf 109.

Re:Think about what you are saying. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19298619)

Google has done no evil? Except for getting those poor Chinese bloggers executed, I guess.

Don't be naive. On top of everything else, you have two insanely rich young men running the show. It's only a matter of time before they are corrupted by power.

Re:Do no evil, despite a monopoly? (1)

Aoreias (721149) | more than 7 years ago | (#19298127)

I like how the guy from the Tribune implies that Google is making money off Google News.

Last I checked, Google News had no ads and was free, which means it's raking in $0 dollars in profit. Why in the world would Google pay to index newspaper articles when it isn't making any money off of it? I can understand getting upset if Google is using those snippings to make a profit (even though it may be covered by Fair Use in some jurisdictions)

Seriously though. They're redirecting traffic to newspapers and not making money off it. Talk about biting the hand that feeds you.

Re:Do no evil, despite a monopoly? (5, Insightful)

suv4x4 (956391) | more than 7 years ago | (#19298135)

This actually offers an interesting question: Can you dare to sue google if you depend on page visits? Can you actually survive it when Google decides to "zero" you, to make you nonexistant in their searches?

This is the reason why I do believe it'll be nice to see Yahoo and Microsoft work (or merge?) together better, so they can compete better against Google.

I do use Google today, it has the best search results, undeniably. But it also has a huge market share, which makes content producers very nervous, for a good reason.

Google may delist you overnight, after an algorithm tweak, for something completely innocent, and not SEO related at all, that you did on your site. It's unavoidable, even if Google was run by shiny white angels with halo above their heads, an algorithm for a search engine isn't an exact science, and so anybody in any moment can end up as an edge case that Google doesn't handle properly.

If we have 2-3 major search engines with equal market share, we gain the following benefits:

1. Spammers will have hard time scamming all engines at once, as they use wildly different backend processing, and as a result receive less traffic (i.e. if half the traffic comes from Live, and half from Google, cheating one of them gets you half the possible traffic, not all of it).

2. If you happen to be an edge case on either search engine after an algorithm tweak, it's much less likely both engines did the same tweak at the same time, so while your traffic will decrease, the other search engines on the market will still provide enough traffic for you until this is sorted.

3. When either search engine does something inappropriate, or questionable (ok, for the simple folk out there: "evil"), people will have easier time going to court to defend their rights, because if the search engine provider becomes abusive and threatens blacklisting, that'll have much smaller effect if the engine isn't a monopolist (in this case they'll mostly hurt themselves).

4. Innovation, innovation, innovation. Just imagine the kind of innovation we'll see from both Yahoo/Microsoft and Google if they had equal market share. Microsoft would have much bigger revenue and thus much bigger incentive to support their position on the market. Google, likewise.

I mean, what's the best we saw of Google as of late? A week ago they changed the layout of their home page which made it JavaScript dependent and harder to work with. That's not innovation, that's regression. As for the rest of their new offerings, they mostly come from companies they bought recently.

Yahoo's holding on to their "portal" strategy since this is where the most of their income comes from so their search acceptable but certainly not good enough or innovative. They can't risk spending too much money on search R&D alone.

As for Microsoft Live, they're apparently trying to come up with interesting interfaces for search, but they are quite young on that one market, their search results aren't really good, and need the experience of Yahoo to give them a boost and incentive to spend more research in the area.

So, bottom line: monopoly is never good, even when it's supposedly "not evil".

Competitors will have to do something else (1)

Colin Smith (2679) | more than 7 years ago | (#19298341)

The competition to Google won't come from the search engine space, it'll come from something which can provide a similar service but in a slightly different way. I'm guessing something like del.icio.ous or some machine learning system a maths whiz comes up with.
 

Re:Do no evil, despite a monopoly? (3, Insightful)

WindBourne (631190) | more than 7 years ago | (#19298375)

Yahoo working with MS would be a total disaster to Yahoo. EVERY company that MS has partnered with, where MS is the junior partner has always resulted in MS using that to slingshot themselves past that company while taking them down. In terms of a merger, that would actually be detrimental to the industry. It is far better that both companies keep on their paths to enable multiple search paths (so to speak).

As to some of your following rational, let me take a shot at it.:
  1. Right now, Google is aware of scams because so many attempts are made. It is far easier for Google to see it, when they are bearing the brunt of it. The interesting thing, is that spammers will now be able to make even more use of them. MS has a long history of poor security and will almost certainly miss what Google has done with this. MS will try to copy such items as the cache, and it will be used by spammers.
  2. Good point, but you assume that you are high in all. Chances are that if you take a hit in Google (you were almost certainly on a edge in the first place), then you were probably not at the top on the others.
  3. I doubt that Google would de-list you because you sue them. That would invite a looksy by the feds.
  4. Google is already extremely innovative. In fact, Yahoo was as well ( a decade ago). Sadly, MS is not. To be nice, they are copiers of other people's work with a one-off. If you want innovation, then keep all 3 companies seperate.
As to Google's innovation, not all of it is visible. Wait. I have no doubt that Google has some interesting things coming. They have been hiring true best and brightess, not wanna-be's. As it is, you point to search as being their innovation, when in reality, it is data mining for their ads that they are true experts at.
Yahoo is also interesting in that they are moving towards changing their infrastructure to make it easier to change. They are hoping to have the nimbalness of Google, as well as the ability to control their ad space.
MS is throwing more than 10x the money that both of the other company combined are currently throwing at it. Give MS time.

If you want true innovation, then disallow such a merger/partnership. MS has never used a merger for information. It has always been market share that they want. In addition, MS already has a monster monopoly that they can (and apparently are ) using to help themselves. They would use this to shut out Google, not compete against them.

Re:Do no evil, despite a monopoly? (1)

suv4x4 (956391) | more than 7 years ago | (#19298523)

Google is aware of scams because so many attempts are made [..] MS has a long history of poor security and will almost certainly miss what Google has done with this.

I'm not sure how you imagine the workflow in Microsoft regarding this, maybe something like this:

Jo: Hey, spammers are attacking Live.com successfully!
Bob: Yup, I see that.
Jo: Ok, I'll analyze why this is happening and propose a fix...
Bob: NO! WAIT! Don't forget: we have a long history of poor security.
Jo: Oh yea, what the hell was I thinking. We don't want to bring inconsistencies in our history of security.

The security problems of Windows per se, are for legacy reasons, and the need to support legacy applications/API-s You can't abruptly alter an OS overnight. Initially Windows was never even intended to run in a wide untrusted network (the concept of a browser didn't even exist back then).

Poor insight, sure, but I think they know now, what Internet is. As such Live.com, as a website, has zero of these problems.

As long as it outputs HTML/CSS/JS, they can rearchitect the whole thing and you won't even notice.

I doubt that Google would de-list you because you sue them. That would invite a looksy by the feds.

They may not so blatantly do it, but tell me: if your business may disappear in a blink of an eye if Google turns you back, would you be quick to go against them? They have thousands of ways to hurt you, and to make it look neutral. You may never know what hit you.

Google is already extremely innovative.

You know, they were extremely innovative in 1998, when they came up with the search engine concepts, pagerank and so on. Now they have a good business model, but there's tons of obvious stuff they could do to improve the search experience which they don't seem interested in.

Re:Do no evil, despite a monopoly? (1)

Dan Ost (415913) | more than 7 years ago | (#19298901)

but there's tons of obvious stuff they could do to improve the search experience which they don't seem interested in.

What sorts of things have you got in mind?

Google home page, javascript dependant? (2, Informative)

Secrity (742221) | more than 7 years ago | (#19298699)

I just verified that my javascript was turned off and went to google.com. I didn't find that anything required javascript.

Re:Google home page, javascript dependant? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19299059)

I just verified that my javascript was turned off and went to google.com. I didn't find that anything required javascript.

That's the problem, you won't find it. The top bar that says Web | Images | News etc etc doesn't appear with JS off. You may get context "images" and "blogs" *after* searching, if google deems there are enough interesting related image (but it often hides it when there ARE interesting mages).

Re:Google home page, javascript dependant? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19299299)

> I didn't find that anything required javascript.

Did you even look?

Hint: window.gbar

Better products, not mergers! (1)

mangu (126918) | more than 7 years ago | (#19298795)

it'll be nice to see Yahoo and Microsoft work (or merge?) together better, so they can compete better against Google.


When Google started, the dominant search services were Altavista and Yahoo. Google didn't need to merge with anyone to completely dominate the search business, they just created a better search algorithm.


If either Microsoft or Yahoo or anyone else wants to compete better against Google, the first thing to do is to hire talented *technical* people and let them work at developing a better search engine. The bit is mightier than the chair, when the competition is open, smart programmers will always trump aggressive managers.


Internet search today is limited to literal text only. I wish I could request something by generic words and get pages containing also synonyms of those words. I wish I could request a search for technical information on the XYZ product, but exclude any advertisements. I wish I could do multimedia search. I wish I could upload a picture to Google and request a search for any pictures with the second girl from the left. I wish I could hum a song into the microphone and request a search for all the files containing that song.


There's so much to be done in search engines today, all you need to become the next Google is to implement what Google does not provide.

Re:Do no evil, despite a monopoly? (1)

dcapel (913969) | more than 7 years ago | (#19298227)

The Google giveth and the Google taketh away...

Re:Do no evil, despite a monopoly? (1)

DrEldarion (114072) | more than 7 years ago | (#19298489)

What bastardization of the word "monopoly" are you using to describe a ~65% marketshare? That's like saying that Coke has a monopoly on cola just because they're the most popular.

Re:Do no evil, despite a monopoly? (1)

Dan Ost (415913) | more than 7 years ago | (#19298933)

You are considered a monopoly when you have undue influence over your market (and sometimes related markets). In some markets, that might require almost 100% market share, in other markets that might only require 20%.

Google and Xinhua (2, Interesting)

MisterCookie (991581) | more than 7 years ago | (#19297915)

I refuse to use Google News ever since I noticed that they use Xinhua(The PRC's state newspaper agency) as a source. Ya, I'm real sure the journalism of a totalitarian state that is responsible for the deaths of 3000+ people(then reporting only a handful were injured) will be real accurate.

right, and Im SURE Wall street journal and etc (1)

Petkov (1011081) | more than 7 years ago | (#19298125)

New York times, the UK's Gardian and ALL other corporate owned newspapers are 100% objective in reporting their news. Speaking of deaths, how many indians have died in USA from lets say 1776 to 1900?

Re:Google and Xinhua (1)

Gorshkov (932507) | more than 7 years ago | (#19298131)

Ya, I'm real sure the journalism of a totalitarian state that is responsible for the deaths of 3000+ people(then reporting only a handful were injured) will be real accurate.

The important thing to know about a news service - ANY news service - is it's institutional bias. And yes, they all have them.

Once you know the bias, you can use that and some critical reasoning skills to parse through the stories - and you'd be amazed at just how much good information you CAN get that way, regardless of the bias.

There's a damned good reason why everybody - and I mean absolutly EVERYBODY - in the intelligence community read pravda and izvestia during the cold war. Because it was a wonderful source of information.

Re:Google and Xinhua (2, Insightful)

zCyl (14362) | more than 7 years ago | (#19298319)

I refuse to use Google News ever since I noticed that they use Xinhua(The PRC's state newspaper agency) as a source.

So don't click on it if it offends your sensibilities so greatly. Personally I like being able to see a variety of perspectives, even propaganda laced ones. You have to pay attention to propaganda so you know what information other people are being fed.

Google news does not present you with truth. It presents you with a distribution of news.

Re:Google and Xinhua (1)

pairo (519657) | more than 7 years ago | (#19298713)

Wow, that's so ignorant and stupid I can't believe it. It's like saying you won't walk on the street because killers walk the streets. Personally, I've read some of those articles and they're not half bad... Of course, not on touchy issues, but, still.
Also, do know that the Tiananmen protests wasn't the only time China killed some of its citizens...

Re:Google and Xinhua (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19298785)

You're a hypocrite. Do you have the same qualms with Google using U.S. propagada outfit Voice of America [google.com] as a news source? Even though Büsh's Amerikkka has murdered at least 64,000 Iraqis? [iraqbodycount.net] The US is a much greater threat to peace than China ever has been. Nobody outside of the U.S. disputes this.

The "communications revolution" goes on (4, Interesting)

Whuffo (1043790) | more than 7 years ago | (#19297923)

As the current equivalents of buggy whip and button hook manufacturers, media companies that deliver their product as a physical artifact are dying. They won't go quickly or easily, and they'll fight in every way they can to hold on to their past glories.

But the world turns and the new replaces the old. Such is how it always has been and always will be; try to feel just a little sorry (if you can) for those who become irrelevant in tomorrow's world. One day, it'll be your own chosen career or industry that slips below the horizon.

Even the (rightfully) hated RIAA and MPAA are simply trying every angle they can in hopes of propping up their dying organizations for a little longer. The damage they do as they thrash around in their death throes will take years to clean up - but they will die, and the mess will be cleaned up.

Against this background, why be surprised that some newspapers think that Google should pay them for the privelege of indexing their web pages? If they could make that pig fly, they could compensate for the loss in subscription revenues for - maybe another year or so. Google chooses not to pay, and chooses rightly. These companies are doomed and there's nothing for Google or anyone else to gain by delaying their demise.

Re:The "communications revolution" goes on (1)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 7 years ago | (#19297951)

Umm... maybe variety in reporting?

If independent news pages, who depend on the revenue of ads and sponsoring, cannot cover their costs anymore, they will have to go. The large news media still have their revenue from good ol' newspaper or other offline publications, so they will survive.

I wouldn't call it a good development to return to the pre-internet state, where you have a handful of newspapers to pick from that write essentially the same 'cause they belong to the same business group.

Re:The "communications revolution" goes on (2, Interesting)

Dan Ost (415913) | more than 7 years ago | (#19299045)

The newspapers that actually produce content will do fine. It's the newspapers that regurgitate the AP stories that are screwed.

If anything, Google is encouraging variety in reporting.

Re:The "communications revolution" goes on (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19298035)

Whuffo, you really need to look outward rather than at your own navel when making an argument. You are correct that certain industries become irrelevant; unfortunately, it is often the better marketing of a replacement, rather than the better quality, which drives this, and consumers end up getting less for more.

To begin, it is only the geek (and even then, not the majority geek) who prefers to read from an electronic device. I've been playing with computers since I was six and the printed newspaper/book wins hands down against the CRT, laptop, tablet PC, PDA, projector, clay tablet for ease of use. There are so many reasons why I don't want to replace my collection of hardcopy - of touchable, annotatable, foldable, hold-cunningly-with-4-pages-open-at-once-able, read-in-bath-able, never-worry-about-bit-rot-or-electromagnetic-storm s-able, instantly accessable, never-crashable, hardly-thievable, beautiful paper! And no, electronic paper does not cut it, because almost every way that it's not real paper, is a point off from my list of desires.

As for the whole media rights thing, well, yes, "anti-circumvention" is a pile of lobbied bullcrap, but Christ, what happened to being able to shove a VHS in the VCR or a cassette in the deck and press Record?

Against this background, why be surprised that some newspapers think that Google should pay them for the privelege of indexing their web pages?


Because unlike Google, which just sits on its fat ass making billions off other people's content, the people who produce e.g. the newsbreaking pictures put their lives on the line going out into some of the most dangerous areas of the world; those who write accounts that move a nation spend months collecting evidence, interacting undercover with undesirables who would quickly eliminate them if they knew what was up. Because a good journalist is a life-risking hero, while no Google founder, employee or shareholder comes close even producing any content at all, let alone putting his life at risk.

Google is a strong-arm bully, and its argument is no more than, "We are rich, we are powerful, we have no moral respect for the work that you do, so we will do this and profit from it; if you don't like it, consider yourself removed." The problem is not that it removes those who complain, the problem is that it dares use their work in the first place, instead of employing an explicit opt-in method - but that, like Wikipedia originally planning to have a "peer reviewed" rather than "anyone can write shit" method, would create quality, consensus and fairness, rather than easy content and easy profit.

Re:The "communications revolution" goes on (1)

bytesex (112972) | more than 7 years ago | (#19298119)

Essentially, your argument boils down to what people have been saying about the dumbing down of news as well - people like it that way. Lots of people find Google attractive and fast, and they use it, in the same way that people like news about cats in trees and don't want to know about what's really going on. In spite of there being reporters producing hard-won content, they like it the easy way; content producers be damned. But you forget that a) no content-producer is forced into the game, and b) content-producers have always had other ways of generating revenue, even online. Newspapers as material will continue to be produced for quite a while - even as they'll have to move into different markets (cheaper editions for the short run, bigger editions weekly or monthly) to keep afloat. But also, as a large portion of what keeps them afloat - an online section for the day to day affairs. That can't cost much, so it'll all look like it just came off of Reuters, AP, AFP and such, and the interviews and analysis will have to wait until the weekend.

Re:The "communications revolution" goes on (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19298151)

I'm sure you indexed a billion pages and handled 10 million queries before breakfast, right? Anyone can do that...

Re:The "communications revolution" goes on (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19298203)

No, and neither did any human at Google. But I (or any other fairly competent geek) can apply and adapt any number of techniques used for "searching for stuff in free text" that have been applied since the '50s, or since 1993-4 for the Web in particular. Probably don't quite have the required level of capital for hardware or marketing to give a popular index of the whole web (nor do most other fairly competent geeks), and I guess I'm not a businessman.

But, as with Microsoft, it's those qualities which set Google apart, not that of producing good content, which brings us back from the strawman to the original argument.

Re:The "communications revolution" goes on (1)

heinousjay (683506) | more than 7 years ago | (#19298301)

Tell me, is everything you can't do simple?

Re:The "communications revolution" goes on (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19298441)

What do you mean? I've successfully written and implemented search engines for intranet and Internet sites. It is not a hard problem, and each time I coughed up figures to guesstimate the hardware required and the responsiveness if it were scaled up to indexing the whole Internet. Sorry, writing a decent search engine is an undergraduate-level challenge because the very much alive horse of searching has been flogged ad inf by academia, and most high quality graduates could tackle it with ease and while providing their own incremental improvements.

As for the tough cookie... never said that marketing and business acumen was easy, and Google shine at both, but I sure ain't going to cheerlead a company on those bases. As do Microsoft, for that matter, although they have produced far more to further the PC industry to date.

Re:The "communications revolution" goes on (1)

alba7 (100502) | more than 7 years ago | (#19298185)

The problem is not that it removes those who complain, the problem is that it dares use their work in the first place, instead of employing an explicit opt-in method [...]

Ever heard of the Robots Exclusion Standard [wikipedia.org] colloquially called robots.txt?

If you don't care to learn the ways of the new age then you should rightfully go extinct.

- but that, like Wikipedia originally planning to have a "peer reviewed" rather than "anyone can write shit" method, would create quality, consensus and fairness, rather than easy content and easy profit.

Well, your comment is a just a piece of uninformed, biased drivel. Perhaps some uninformed and ignorant readers will fall for it. Though I don't think that anybody ever succesfully using Google or Wikipedia will like being insulted by the established media.

Re:The "communications revolution" goes on (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19298627)

Ever heard of the Robots Exclusion Standard colloquially called robots.txt?


Yes, thanks, been writing web pages since 1995 and been employing this unofficial standard on all my web sites as a technical convenience; didn't realise it was a moral or philosophical message that by default aggregators should be able to profit from the hard work of content producers without offering compensation, and then whine when it's asked for. But then I didn't realise a DHCP offer was a legally binding contract between two humans until reading all those "reasons why I'm entitled to free lunch^Wwifi" posts here a few days ago. Next in the series of "why tools need anthropomorphising too", am I to learn that people don't kill people, but guns do?

If you don't care to learn the ways of the new age then you should rightfully go extinct.


If you don't care to respect the life-risking hard work of others, if you prefer to cheerlead a large corporation because it holds more clout, whose main contribution to the world is realising that 1995-era web pages look better than cluttered 2000-era web pages, then you deserve exactly the America you're getting.

Though, to tackle your argument directly for a moment, if the "ways of the new age" were a boot stomping on my face, applying your line of reasoning concludes that I should adapt to the wishes of the boot or "rightfully go extinct".

I don't think that anybody ever succesfully using Google or Wikipedia will like being insulted by the established media.


I successfully use Wikipedia for looking up trivia and to retrieve lists of external references, the two places it can shine (Wikitruth [wikitruth.info] and its forums are good for demonstrating what I already know in my fields of study: that Wikipedia is woefully inaccurate, waffly and unstable); I successfully use Google for general keyword searches quite frequently, as I don't expect any organisation with sufficient hardware to fall down too hard tackling that problem.

Re:The "communications revolution" goes on (1)

alba7 (100502) | more than 7 years ago | (#19298837)

If you don't care to respect the life-risking hard work of others, if you prefer to cheerlead a large corporation because it holds more clout, whose main contribution to the world is realising that 1995-era web pages look better than cluttered 2000-era web pages, then you deserve exactly the America you're getting.

I can certainly agree with this paragraph. Only that I'm thinking of Fox News, CNN and all the other "respectable" media that had nothing more to offer than cheerleading when GWB invaded Iraq. Propably people deserve nothing better when they put up with this pulp. But then I also see no reason to pay premium prices for that.

Re:The "communications revolution" goes on (1)

pairo (519657) | more than 7 years ago | (#19298793)

How would opt in create better content?

Re:The "communications revolution" goes on (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19298987)

How could opt in create better content?


Humans in general are more inclined to work better when treated as valuable contributors who have a right to a voice on the product of their labours, rather than tools for profit who are to be assumed to allow whatever fits in with the whims of the 800lb gorillas. Productive humans simply like being treated as individuals with the ability to freely trade.

Moreover, because computers do not produce imaginative content, instead only organising it by primitive rules, 100,000 sources of automated aggregation will drown out worthwhile reports on newsworthy events. Since it is easier to write stories about a piece of toast shaped like the Virgin Mary or a three-paragraph rant about the latest explosion on the Iraq war, there will be thousands of such contending against one or two pieces of excellent research.

Google is fostering the idea - like its philosophical companion Wikipedia - that all contributors are equal, except the employees/administrators, who have the power to add/remove unilaterally in the case of Wikipedia, and to tweak an algorithm to effectively show/hide items with particular properties in the case of Google. But a human without specialist knowledge applied competently will not make a good job selecting worthy news articles, even worse if he farms the job to a computer algorithm.

This wouldn't matter if people weren't so damn lazy and saw these limitations in Google's news aggregation service, preferring to go out and hunt for information on newsworthy events to understand about the world - from web sites, from print, from involved individuals, from related organisations, and sometimes even by going there. But they don't, and meanwhile, Google's just making it worse.

Opt-in would allow respectable news organisations to negotiate with Google on resolving some of these issues before they accept inclusion in a service whose ultimate aim is profit-making for Google; as it is they have faced a fait accompli, where they would either have to team up with all other big players and make a move together, or risk criticism and lost exposure... simply because one company doesn't see that it is moral to offer compensation to firms when you are profiting from their content.

(See my other post on the difference between regarding robots.txt as a technical convenience/advisory and a moral sanction; even so, Google News is not Google Search - the former deviates far from the type of general search engine that robots.txt traditionally covers.)

Re:The "communications revolution" goes on (1)

pairo (519657) | more than 7 years ago | (#19299251)

By opt-in you mean 'pay a large sum of money for having its still crappy content displayed'. No, thanks.

Re:The "communications revolution" goes on (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19298121)

the loss in subscription revenues
The subscriptions are mostly relevent for their numbers in that it is a selling point to gain advertisers. The newspapers use their distribution counts and more specific demographics on their customers to sell space in their paper for advertisements, which is a much larger source of income for them then subscriptions are. Registration online or any subscriber service is probably more of a set up to track their viewers demographics then anything else, barring their bean counters just being out of touch with reality of course. Basically all of this is just another case of Marketing fouling up the works to increase their budget.

Of course providing online content for "free" also probably offends the reporters as they can no longer say "people pay to read what I write". From the publisher's standpoint "good reporting" sells newspapers and newspaper sales figures sell advertising. The reporters need to learn to be happy in the way many on the web writers and reporters are in that people willingly seek out their writing and if someone paying them to do that writing its all the better, course some papers failed to award their "view" champs or effectively obtain two-way agreement that what went into newsprint from the writers could go on the web too.

Change is as you say inevitable and people need to adapt to it, but not all will see the path in the same way. The internet has been called the Information SuperHighway, like real highways its always under construction and the road is not always wide enough or smooth enough. When a highway is built you not only have to worry about the obstacles you must remove, tunnel through or bridge over, you have to deal with every person on the chosen path and hope that eminant domain isn't used too often or does too much harm. With the government and businesses becoming increasing involved the internet may well resemble the construction of the US transcontinental railroads, which did a great deal of good and brought a great amount of harm. We are already missing the days when the pioneers ran things here.

Looks like a chess game (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19297931)

Google saw two moves ahead. Maybe more companies should hire Ph.Ds so they can avoid reconsidering all the time.

They should be paying Google (3, Insightful)

EzInKy (115248) | more than 7 years ago | (#19297959)

Look, like most I just don't have time to visit a couple of hundred sites to keep up on things. I want headlines and leads with enough information to let me know whether or not it is worth the effort to visit the news source. They should be thanking Google for providing the opportunity to garner more readers and subsequently increase their ad revenue.

Re:They should be paying Google (4, Interesting)

suv4x4 (956391) | more than 7 years ago | (#19298077)

[They should be paying Google]

Look, like most I just don't have time to visit a couple of hundred sites to keep up on things. I want headlines and leads with enough information to let me know whether or not it is worth the effort to visit the news source. They should be thanking Google for providing the opportunity to garner more readers and subsequently increase their ad revenue.


You're biased. They should be paying Google just as much as Google should pay them.

Google isn't a charity organisation, there's no need for anyone to thank them. They are in this business to profit from other people's content. If there's no content, there's no Google. If there aren't search engines, the content can't be found.

The balance in this relationship is closer to the middle than strongly going on either side.

Re:They should be paying Google (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19298499)

"Look, like most I just don't have time to visit a couple of hundred sites to keep up on things. I want headlines and leads with enough information to let me know whether or not it is worth the effort to visit the news source."

It looks to me that YOU should be paying Google. You're the one getting the useful service.

Re:They should be paying Google (1)

EzInKy (115248) | more than 7 years ago | (#19298737)


It looks to me that YOU should be paying Google. You're the one getting the useful service.


I pay Google for its services the same way as I pay for other advertising supported media services.

Can't they get anything right? (1)

edittard (805475) | more than 7 years ago | (#19297981)

To them, it was obvious that the Belgium group had agreed to settle
Belgium: (n) A country, just to the North of France.
Belgian: (a) Of, from, or pertaining to said country. (n) An inhabitant or citizen thereof.

Re:Can't they get anything right? (1)

dodongo (412749) | more than 7 years ago | (#19298047)

That's a totally legitimate construction. What's your problem? "The US group has agreed..." it's totally fine.

Re:Can't they get anything right? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19298155)

Not the same thing. You wouldn't call Fiat "an Italy car manufacturer", or Danone "a France food group". Well, perhaps you would...

Failing to adapt (2, Insightful)

sufehmi (134793) | more than 7 years ago | (#19298033)

The only constant is change. Apparently, some still doesn't know this.

The old media who fail to adapt will be driven to extinction. The traffic driver now is Google, in the future it may be something else, and so on.

There's a good example here of a new mass media company in Indonesia. They provide the news for free, with RSS feeds and so on. But instead of just that, as many old media company trying to move into Internet --- they also have a web store, ad-service via SMS, resell their incoming traffic, sell web-development & consultancy services,
sell exclusive contents paid by simple premium SMS, successfully built an online community AND capitalize on it to make their Web 2.0 websites successful, and many other creative inventions.

The old media on Internet have very high "hit-and-run" traffic. People came, read the news, and went away.
The new media company I mentioned above, however, is able to capitalize on their incoming traffic; people will linger on for longer, actually do transactions with them; bottom line, more revenue streams.

Again, this is not the fault of Google. The fault is at those who fail to adapt.

Excuse me? (3, Insightful)

16K Ram Pack (690082) | more than 7 years ago | (#19298099)

This is just short-sighted. "You're making money off our content, so we want a piece of that".

I had a reasonably high-ranking UK blogger link to a blog entry of mine. He even cited a bit of it. So, he entertained some readers a little. At the same time, the hyperlink saw my traffic (and my tiny adwords revenue) double for about a week after.

What I could have done is taken the same stupid attitude as the papers "stop using my content" and sat back in the satisfaction that he wouldn't be leeching off my content. He'd have maybe had less to interest his readers. But I would have lost some revenue.

Don't these people get this?

Not to encourage such things, but... (1)

iamacat (583406) | more than 7 years ago | (#19298103)

With cookies/referrer, it's possible to generate an ad intermission when a link is followed from Google for the first time in an hour or so, but not when it comes from another page on the site. Since it's transient cookies, they will not be usually blocked by the browser and if they are, well someone is going to be watching lots of ads. Couple this with robots.txt and there is no reason a newspaper needs a special deal with Google to do business as they want without losing the benefit of indexing.

Re:Not to encourage such things, but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19298323)

I think that would be a violation of Google's policies. Of course publishers are not obliged to follow those policies. But if Google were to find out about such tricks, they would remove the sites from the index.

This is like a major newspaper asking (1)

yeOldeSkeptic (547343) | more than 7 years ago | (#19298111)

newstands to pay a fee to them because the presence of the newspapers attracts people to the newstands.

Maybe the managers thinking about this should just leave the media business. They don't seem to know anything about it.

Re:This is like a major newspaper asking (1)

pacalis (970205) | more than 7 years ago | (#19298917)

Somewhere you forgot that news stands buy inventory.


I don't see why google shouldn't do the same.

Re:This is like a major newspaper asking (1)

alexgieg (948359) | more than 7 years ago | (#19299103)

Somewhere you forgot that news stands buy inventory. I don't see why google shouldn't do the same.
I have no idea whether this is the case on other countries, but here in Brazil newsstands don't "buy" inventory in any permanent way, except in rare cases. Of course they do pay to get the newspapers and magazines in their hands to be resold, but in the end of the day (or month) the publishers accept back (and pay back) whatever wasn't sold. If nothing was sold, the newsstand owner receives back every single cent he spent.

Slightly OT, but lets just mention all print media (1)

zappepcs (820751) | more than 7 years ago | (#19298175)

I've stopped reading any print media whether it is a magazine or a newspaper. Both are unbearably slow sources of standard news articles compared to the Internet. The only print media I read anymore are those that give in-depth or otherwise insightful articles that are not reported by the up-to-the-minute-news services. Even those I tend to read electronically. There are some trade mags that publish things that just are not in the "news" so they are good... but any 'news' information is best had off the web. Google reader helps quite a bit.

I disagree... (2, Insightful)

freedom_india (780002) | more than 7 years ago | (#19298223)

Print media may not be "hip" with latest information, but the views matter.
I subscribe to print editions of TIME and Economist purely for the joy of reading the views.
The way in which it is presented also matters, not just the bland headline stating "Lohan arrested for DUI".
I guess that's why FOX news is popular than ABC or PBS.
Secondly, a paper magazine allows me to lie down on couch or bed and read at lesuire.
Thirdly, a paper magazine has readers letters, opinion, etc., all concise in 48-pages.
Magazines may not provide latest information.
But they do present an in-depth analysis absent in news.google.com

The newspaper model is dead! (1)

etnu (957152) | more than 7 years ago | (#19298235)

100, 50, 20, hell, even 10 years ago newspapers had a major problem: covering local issues was relatively clean, but covering international issues was a big problem. Outside of the big players (NY Times, Washington Post, etc.), nobody could afford to send their journalists abroad and the like. Back then, we needed the AP. We needed reuters. Today we're seeing how broken this model is. You can find the exact same article on hundreds of websites, all attributed to the same sources. The news agencies should get back to reporting local news that is relevant to their local customer base. Start assuming that your customers will get their national and international news from sources like CNN or ABC. The newspaper owners are doing what they're doing because they simply have no idea how to restructure their business model right now. If the hand-written letter was the first casualty of the internet era, the newspaper will certainly be the next.

Re:The newspaper model is dead! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19298593)

Your wrong on one thing there the first casualty was pornographic magazines(just kidding you could send email before the color monitor couldnt help but be sarcastic there :)

google and newspapers ? (1)

chrisranjana.com (630682) | more than 7 years ago | (#19298403)

So will the editors and staff of newspapers pay google for their searches ?

Conflicts... Bah... (1)

Jugalator (259273) | more than 7 years ago | (#19298465)

Google should just shut out the newspapers that don't want to be listed.

I don't think Google is violating any laws by posting stuff like one-sentence excerpts from sites and a link to them. They do the same on Google Web Search, and others do it to on their news search services. So I don't see a problem there. And if they remove sites that have a "personal" problem with it, they have no problem there either. Voila, dispute and headaches solved. I should become a manager.

The opposite (1)

PietjeJantje (917584) | more than 7 years ago | (#19298843)

Google links to newspaper stories that feature ads, so Google should get part of the revenue.
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