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Google May Charge for News Searches



7:11 am on Oct 5, 2002 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Administrator brett_tabke is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

In an article [telegraph.co.uk] in the Telegraph.co.uk, Omid Kordestani (senior vp for Google) said:

"The fees are being earmarked for sections of the website such as Google News...

"We may experiment with ways of monetising after we have got the service right. Charging would be one approach. So far we have found it better to keep the service free and charge for targetted advertising."


3:25 am on Oct 6, 2002 (gmt 0)

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It is a great service no doubt, but to pay for it, there would have to be things I couldn't get anywhere else. Right now that just isn't the case.

As I've said before, and others have agreed, the Sci/Tech section needs some work.

Also, the whole idea needs "focus." There are very few news items which would make top news for every person on the planet. Right now, Google News seems to be trying to do that, with a leaning towards the U.S. and also lacking other languages. I think that the front page should be as blank as Google's other tabs are; with links to several regionalized or customized front news pages.

Whatever happened to the technology acquired by buying Outride?


2:55 pm on Oct 6, 2002 (gmt 0)

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Hi googleguy,

My experience with subscription based sites is that you have to offer some value proposition. If I spend twenty bucks for your info, I need to get forty bucks back, otherwise folks are loathe to spend money on things they can get for free.

I would probably focus on a sub-set of news that has the potential to reward the subscriber, perhaps finance, to test the subscription model, before committing to/rolling out a general subscription based news service.

For further insight into subscription based services, this thread is excellent:



3:06 am on Oct 7, 2002 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member eliteweb is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member

First you gotta catch me using the google news feature. Right now I goto msnbc.com for news headlines. and I hit up cnn.com so before charges come into mind you need people using it and loving it. Im not loving it yet, right now to me its just a nice function :) Google hasnt made it to my list of news sources yet ;P ill let ya know when it has.

Robert Charlton

3:26 am on Oct 7, 2002 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Administrator robert_charlton is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

Google Guy - I like Google News a lot as a beta, and I've recommended it to many friends... but I think john316 is right about the value proposition. Business news, trade journals, etc, would be immensely useful to have indexed online. What about show business news, for example? People would pay a lot for this stuff. When I was active in film, I had a whole wall full of back issues of a dozen different film and video magazines, and I could never find anything.

The content would have to be online, of course... and right now a lot of it isn't... and you'd probably have to work out deals with publishers and writers. This would dig into their normal subscriber base, so they'd need to see the value in it for them. Also, I think there are issues to be worked out with writers of pre-internet articles.

As to the present version, for international news and politics, eg, I follow certain writers and commentators, and right now... as far as I can see... you don't give bylines any relevance. So if the writer's name doesn't appear in the headline, there's a good chance I won't find him. Also, I notice a significant omission of The New York Review of Books, not technically hard news but an important source of news commentary.

I'd also like to see compound searches... author and then subject, maybe organized by date, for example.


4:27 am on Oct 7, 2002 (gmt 0)

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I love the Google news search and use it on a daily basis, but I would not pay for it. Not because I don't think it's worth paying for, but because I think charging for this would be dangerous for Google, and for news on a Web in general.

As someone else mentioned -- there was that idiotic ruling in Denmark against deep-linking. If Google charges for news searches, it opens itself up to lawsuits from all the big news sites, and many of those sites may decide to start charging for news, too... the usual mindless corporate herd mentality. Then what will the Google news search engine have left to search?

Also, what does this mean for the regular Google search? Right now you can turn up old news stories within the regular search results, and let me tell you, I find that very, very useful when I'm doing research. If Google starts segregating some content and marking it off-limits to non-paying surfers, Google no longer has a comprehensive search engine.

Free global news is just about the greatest thing the Web has going for it right now. I don't want to see Google join in the massive corporate destruction of every reason the average person has to use the Web. There's not going to be a Web at this rate. So no, I won't pay! (sorry for the rant)


5:50 am on Oct 7, 2002 (gmt 0)

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I have recently tried out Google News and I must say it was a somewhat enlightening experience. Sure, I know the best place to get the latest webmaster news:), but when I want to know something about a current, breaking topic that I am not familiar with, then Google news can broaden my horizons beyond the big sites.

After using Google News, I was amazed how much information is written about my favorite pro football team. I thought nfl.com, espn.com, etc. were the only places to get current info and I never bothered to search for my team in the search engines since who cares about month old articles. Also, I never even knew that a number of local papers posted current articles about my team on the web.

Anyway, enough with the praise, and on to this whole “monetizing” business. I am shocked that Google would try and hinder the growth of this service by trying to squeak out a few bucks from the people who value the service most. These people are your best word of mouth advertisers. I would imagine that a large number of free users would be much more valuable to Google than a few paying users. Also, I’m no expert, but it doesn’t seem that spidering 4000 sites and sorting things provides a high barrier against competition.

When I think search, I think Google. I am impressed with Google News and feel that it has potential to also make me think Google when I think current news. However, I wouldn’t try too hard to force Google News on people in your traditional SERPs. Personally, I feel a bit violated by Google News listings hogging up precious space on the SERPs for some queries. Honestly, does Google really think that 3 listings from only a 4,000 site sample size belongs above the ten standard results taken from a 2.5 billion page sample size. If Google News wasn’t “earmarked” for fees then I can’t imagine this type of thing would be allowed to happen.


6:42 am on Oct 7, 2002 (gmt 0)

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Just curious--what do people think of news so far? - GG

I think the news page is great, but if I was faced with a situation where I had to pay for it, I'd look elsewhere. Not because I'm tight fisted, but because there are so many other free news sites.

The biggest problem with the internet - How do you charge for all your hard work, when so many other sites will jump at the opportunity to do it for free.

If making some money is Google's biggest issue, maybe we can start a thread suggesting ways Google can make money without damaging its current appeal.


9:02 am on Oct 7, 2002 (gmt 0)

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People will pay for a good archive of Old news. They already do in more traditional formats.

Of course the business model will determine ultimate success. Cost, quality and ease of use will make or break the experiment.



2:39 pm on Oct 7, 2002 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Administrator rogerd is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member

Regarding News: I've actually paid for news, as a subscriber to the WSJ Online Edition for a few years.

The reasons I paid for this (despite all the free news around), were:
1) Unique content not otherwise available.
2) Particularly good customizability, so that you could easily locate features of interest as well as have standing personal search folders. (The latter allowed you to store keywords, and any article matching the keywords automatically appeared in a personal folder.)

Not long ago, I cancelled due to a redesign that eliminated the personal search folders (great move, WSJ, that's the way to increase customer satisfaction!) and due a billing screwup that somehow "reactivated" a closed credit card account and required lots of phone calls to American Express to sort out.

Since that time, I have managed fine with free news services like MSNBC and CNN, plus Reuters and other feeds for my PDA (via AvantGo). What would induce me to adopt a news service as a primary source, or even pay for it? Probably consistent, high quality content and a reasonable level of customizability - "saved searches" or personal news folders would be significant.

I've used Google News quite a bit since launch, and it's not a bad service, particularly for not being human-edited. My complaints? (1) The spotty quality of sources - many seem to be "second tier" providers who probably are echoing what they get from major feeds. (Is the Jackson Clarion Ledger likely to have anything unique on breaking news in Yemen?) (2) The story summaries take up a lot of real estate. It seems like most news sites cram more into less space, and require much less scrolling to see major topics. I'd like to see more story links "above the fold". (3) Since Google News is a different product than a monolithic news organization, demanding consistent editorial quality and a fairly predictable bias is out of the question, though I see the lack of these as a modest disincentive to use. The offsetting advantage, perhaps, is the diversity of viewpoints offered.

Overall, I'd say Google News is an impressive achievement. With a few tweaks, like a denser start page and a facility for presenting keyword-based news, I could easily see myself adopting it as my primary news source.


3:33 pm on Oct 7, 2002 (gmt 0)

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I personally like the news feature. It is an easy way for me to check for some articles relating to my areas of business. I doubt that I would be willing to pay for it though. Most of the information there is available for free elsewhere with a bit more looking.


3:41 pm on Oct 7, 2002 (gmt 0)

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The front page is great, but not something I would pay for. The news searches on the other hand, is something that I would probably open an account for if the price is right, particularly if non-English media are to be covered in the future.


3:51 pm on Oct 7, 2002 (gmt 0)

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I cannot see it, the general public do expect searches to be free and I cannot see this changing. I am London based and if I want, up to the minute news, I use the BBC.

Robert Charlton

4:30 am on Oct 8, 2002 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Administrator robert_charlton is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

>>Just curious--what do people think of news so far?<<

This is a little off topic about the question of "would I pay?"... more in response to the question above and as sort of a beta report about some functionality issues.

When I search in the subcategories (World, US, Business, Sci-Tech, etc) with javascript disabled, News search returns 404s... and not even Google 404s, but MS IE 404s. When I search Top Stories with javascript off, it works fine.

I also remember reading on this forum that if I searched within various categories, like Sci-Tech, I'd get search results pertaining more to that category. Offhand, with only superficial tests, I didn't really see any differences.

One of the things I tried, though, was to enter a search and then tab among the news categories, to see if the results would be different. When I did this, I lost my search. This is inconsistent with what happens when I tab among the main search page and Images or Directory search. When I do this, my search is retained.

It would be nice if the search could be retained among news categories too. There's an interface problem in doing this and also displaying the front pages for each news category. At the least, perhaps the search box shouldn't be cleared when I switch news categories.


5:59 am on Oct 8, 2002 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member vitaplease is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member

People will pay for a good archive of Old news. They already do in more traditional formats.


I agree, I wonder what will happen if some web-service uses the Google news/links to offer a longer time-based archive. :)
An archive meta news search of a meta news search engine.

Maybe they could even find a way of creatively using the Google access keys for some subscription based news services.;)


6:35 am on Oct 8, 2002 (gmt 0)

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The more I use Google News and the more I think about the possibilities with the service, the more amazing I feel it is. I can now say that I would definitely be a willing victum to Google’s talk of monetizing its news service.

I tried to find a way to run the news from the Google Toolbar but I guess it is still in beta. If anybody knows a way then please let me know. It would be nice to have an option to quickly turn any standard search into a news search and visa versa.

I still don’t think it is a good idea to charge for the service. For starters I wouldn’t have tried it out if I was sure it was going to be a subscription type service. Also, there are about 3 people that I plan to recommend Google News to. If I knew that Google was not planning to charge for the service in the future than that number would probably jump to about 10.


11:19 am on Oct 8, 2002 (gmt 0)

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I used to go back and forth between cnn and msnbc to try and find the latest news.

I mean LATEST.

Google is very good at giving me the most up to date article and when the next big news event that I follow comes out - I will be hitting refresh ALOT.

Google needs to expand its technology into other arenas - Imagine how accurate they could be with things like "amazons other things you would like" and stuff like that.

Google could use its talents for all sorts of things - even such things as a dating service.

Anything that requires an accurate search to get what you want.

I don't know if I would pay for the news thing - I am sort of a cheapskate, but if it was packaged with other stuff - it would be great at a reasonable price.

I think the news thing is pretty darn good for being in beta.

You should be able to expand on this to give users custom content WITHOUT them doing any work. Based on what stories they clicked on and others like them. This would be a great background for a new and improved google.


11:28 am on Oct 8, 2002 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member topr8 is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member

google news is outstanding having recently spent a lot of time checking out news sources.

the way to make money is to create some kind of process of supplying filtered news feeds to be displayed on websites i should think.


11:31 am on Oct 8, 2002 (gmt 0)

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I think that is a great idea topr8.
Don't know if it would fit perfectly within the google scheme of things.
Google used to have an affiliate program.

Google could do better than moreover.


9:53 am on Oct 9, 2002 (gmt 0)

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GNEWS: Probably take the form of detailed news feeds into the Corporate institution intranets then any money mr joe public would pay for.

just a thought.


2:33 am on Oct 12, 2002 (gmt 0)

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Google News now has a text version, [news.google.com...] . Is this new, or has it always (since the overhaul) been there?

If it is new, it is probably a response to the people who said they liked the old Google News better.

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