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Google The Publisher

By - April 28, 2009

Over and over I’ve predicted that Google will be forced to act like a publisher, because there’s only so much demand that can be harvested, and sooner or later, Google’s core revenue-generating customers – that’d be marketers – will demand some help creating supply.

Supply means branding, and branding happens in the magical world of publishing. Here are two additional Google initiatives that point the company toward that world:

Google launches Digg-like feature

A Cnet piece giving an overiew of Google’s attempt to curate value from the wisdom of the masses. Called What’s Popular.

and…

Eric Schmidt on Google’s New Plan for the News

Never seen this site before, but the woman who writes is managed to get into a party where she talked to Eric Schmidt. From the piece:

I asked if the rumors I’d heard, that Google was changing its mind about getting involved with creating original content, were true. No, he responded, quite convincingly, they’re not. Google is not a content company, and is not going in that direction, he explained. But Google does have plans for a solution. In about six months, the company will roll out a system that will bring high-quality news content to users without them actively looking for it. Under this latest iteration of advanced search, users will be automatically served the kind of news that interests them just by calling up Google’s page. The latest algorithms apply ever more sophisticated filtering – based on search words, user choices, purchases, a whole host of cues – to determine what the reader is looking for without knowing they’re looking for it. And on this basis, Google believes it will be able to sell premium ads against premium content.

If this is true (sending a note now to ask), it’s a big step.

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10 thoughts on “Google The Publisher

  1. Matt Batt says:

    Interesting post, John. Thanks for sharing these connections about Google’s plans. There is certainly a difference between creating content vs. delivering content from others. I would however question how this doesn’t make Google a publisher – besides, isn’t this exactly what most surviving newspapers are doing today via the wires such as AP?!

    I’ll be anxious to see how this move plays out as this is the big question right now in new publishing (i.e. last week’s Tribune layoffs).

    Thanks!

    Matt Batt (@storyassistant)

  2. Eliot says:

    Agreed.
    IF:
    Algorithm = Editor
    AND
    Google.com = Content Distribution
    AND
    AdWords = Targeted Advertising
    THEN
    Google = Publisher (albeit of non-original content)

  3. Chuck says:

    This is a great post John!

    The link and article to thewrap.com was really interest. Was a surprise to see something like that on that site.

  4. Tim Raleigh says:

    While I agree that the result of Google’s activities look like “publishing” it appears that they are not getting sucked into the same cost vortex that traditional publishing companies such as the NYTimes have. I think it would be more accurate to say that Google is creating a more personalized and sophisticated aggregator which I believe is the best way to leverage its competitive advantage (intellectual knowledge, technology, position) to increase market share. Eric Schmidt’s comments indicate (at least from my point of view) that they do not see themselves as a publisher, (commissioning content) at least in the traditional sense of the word. Ironically the more personalized the content the hard it is to manage (estimate and price) the inventory and to package to advertisers. It will be interesting to watch Google solve a problem that other “online media” companies have failed at.

  5. ajolie1 says:

    In so many ways Google is the modern day MS: just sit back, see what works then embrace and extend. (It also has the cash cow like MS.) Google’s motto might be “Don’t Be Evil”, but when it comes to dominating the market the real motto is “Just Do It, Damn It; and #uck the motto”.

  6. JG says:

    Isn’t owning YouTube enough to classify Google as a publisher? Much of the content is available exclusively on YouTube. And because Google hosts and serves this original content, isn’t it a publisher already?

    Google even commissions the content in a quid pro quo manner: It pays the content creators in the form of free bandwidth. While not a “traditional” commission, don’t tell me that isn’t a form of payment to the content creators. It is.

    Why are we still waffling about this issue? Is it only because Google continues to deny what is already obvious? Don’t we know better by now?

  7. geewhiz says:

    Google stopped sticking to their guns a long time ago. Eric Schmidt really needs to stop the nonsense about not being a publisher because he loses credibility each time he says it. They own Knol. They own YouTube. They own Google Finance.

    This argument is stupid. They are a publisher!

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  9. John, Journalists are taking a lot on the chin these days, but please don’t call Sharon Waxman, ex of the NYT and the WashPost “a woman who managed to get into a party” — if you are quoting from her, it would be nice if you googled her, she is quite well known. Love your site. Best, Doug Lavin

  10. Winx Oyunu says:

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