Google News? Not!


Today’s big news is that Google is not allowed to put out the news from a European news outlet that sued them. As usual, silicon insiders are 1) waxing argumentatively in favor of the virtuous wonder of Google and 2) forgetting the big picture which is *long term content control*. Here is the story, and here’s an example of the siliconized logic from TechDirt. Here’s Google’s view on the case.

Of course it’s probably stupid and shortsighted for the Belgian newspapers to insist Google remove them because they’ll lose reach and they’ll lose some potential for advertising revenues. This is especially true for an American audience that, without online exposure, is far more likely to encounter a Belgian waffle than a Belgian newpaper.

However, the news flash that Silicon Valley is always so reluctant to read is that Google’s spectacular success has not been primarily a function of *Google’s* own efforts, rather it has been their brilliance monetizing *other people’s content*. Google, as they themselves are fond of reminding us, does not do content. That’s fine and even appreciated by those of us who do do content. [Hmm – I said do do as in “Yes, I doo doo content” said Chico the Wonder Dog].

However the key question about content remains – how should content cash be divided between those who produce it, those who monetize it, and those who expose it to the world? Google can reasonable suggest that they are now doing much of the monetizing and the exposure and therefore deserve most of the cash. That fits well with the fact they are *getting* most of the cash. Google might also note that they are providing publishers with adsense program and then sharing about 70% of that revenue with the content producers themselves.

On the other hand, Belgium papers or other content providers can reasonably argue that when Google pulls up snips of their stuff and shows them in Google search results page, and the a user winds up clicking an advertisement at the side, the content folks don’t see a dime of that even though they were a key contributor to the Google profit equation.

Who is right? I say let the market decide.