Google is making a very clear decision to license and host news content. In other words, to make money from it, like Yahoo does. This is counter to Google’s long standing tradition of being “switchboard” to traffic when it comes to content, and it has very significant implications if carried forward to other areas of Google’s operations. Is Google becoming a true Publisher? There’s really no other way to look at it. With licensed and hosted news content, Google can keep eyeballs on Google’s own servers, and it gets to keep the advertising margin as well. So far, no word on when ads are coming, but this augurs it:
Josh Cohen, business product manager of Google News, said his company would consider eventually running advertising alongside the agencies’ articles.
Notably, Google’s own version of the news wire story will take precedence over those running in other news outlets. In other words, Google keeps the traffic. Google explains it as dealing with a duplication problem here, but, come on now…if I were running a newspaper, I’d be livid. I pay the wire services so that I can get the eyeballs. Now Google is paying them, presumably (no comment on this in the coverage), and the inevitable result is that the newspaper outlets will lose traffic to Google’s direct relationship with the wire services.
It’s interesting that this news was broken on a Friday, before Labor Day. In other words, the deadest day in the news business. Yup, Google knows how to play the news, don’t it?!