Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Will Google Rule The News Industry? (Yes, But Not The Way You Think It Will)

I recently read a great interview with Google's David Eun over at I Want Media and I thought I'd weigh in on this issue:

Is Google a threat to newspapers?

To which I answer: Yes, but not in the way that you think.

I recently visited Google's New York City headquarters, and I learned a lot about their way of thinking of their role in society. In presentations, employees/reps echoed the public sentiments that they are not interested in originating content, which is what news organizations are worried about, anyway (and proud to assert their place!).

It's my understanding that Google is interested in getting information/content to as many people as possible (which they were quite fervent about at the presentation), no matter what language it's in. That said, it seems all the calls for Google to "back off" news organizations' turf might be misdirected -- it seems they don't want to steal newspapers' thunder to report, but to disseminate what they've reported.

The real worry, I think, is that Google will become the first-stop for information -- even if it's not theirs. It's like a digital monopoly: Google's not stealing newspaper web traffic; it's just redirecting it so it makes money off of it before it gets where it's supposed to go. In that sense, it may be a win-win: this new path increases traffic to newspaper web sites, but also allows Google to make considerable money off the redirection. And all that web expansion that Google is doing just reinforces its stance on top of the Internet mountain, one strong enough that it can't be easily booted off.

Bottom line? News organizations should reevaluate what the working business model is, rather than the one they want it to be. Maybe we shouldn't worry where Google is in the beginning of the publication pipeline, but that it's becoming such a large part of it in the first place.

1 comment:

Phantasmatron said...

Interesting read. Very perceptive. It also shows just how diabolically clever Google is in their methods for taking over the world.

But it's already becoming a reality. I use iGoogle to provide me with top headlines from several different news sources.