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Google Could Shut Down Google News Over E.U. Link Tax

     
4:19 pm on Nov 20, 2018 (gmt 0)

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Google's Richard Gingras, vice-president of news, has come very close to threatening to shut down Google News over the E.U.'s proposed "link tax." See the story about article 11 and 13 if you're not familiar with the background.
“it’s not desirable to shut down services” the company was deeply concerned about the current proposals, which are designed to compensate struggling news publishers if snippets of their articles appear in search results.

Some of you will remember when google shut down Google News in Spain over the laws there to charge for news snippets.

[theguardian.com...]
Earlier story
E.U. Parliament Approve New Copyright Changes, Article 11 and 13 [webmasterworld.com]

[edited by: engine at 6:31 pm (utc) on Nov 20, 2018]

4:29 pm on Nov 20, 2018 (gmt 0)

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Then, Google will propose to news publishers, to pay to be shown in the new Google News to get traffic again :)
6:30 pm on Nov 20, 2018 (gmt 0)

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This whole derivative works thing, if it could be better quantified far less toys would be thrown out the pram.
8:22 pm on Nov 20, 2018 (gmt 0)

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Tickling Google with a feather - incompetent, spineless EU bureaucrats, lacking vision, perpetually wasting people's time rather than doing something useful & effective about issues. Worms at the foundation of a proud building - they are bringing it down.
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9:07 am on Nov 21, 2018 (gmt 0)

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The Google news issue could be resolved by allowing news sites to opt-in and place a file at their website root to signify consent. Google uses a similar process to verify permission to act on behalf of a site with various services. If News sites wish to consent then they can. Just ignore the rest.

Mack.
9:21 am on Nov 21, 2018 (gmt 0)

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It would be good if Google News was shut down.
There is far too much abuse of 'fair use', and we constantly see the actual news researchers and the actual content creators receive very little for their efforts and nearly all of the benefit being received by those that just steal others' work or create cheap content by claiming fair use.
Is it less convenient for the end user? Yes, but so what, It's less convenient if we have to pay for our supermarket shopping than just take it for free, but the producers need to get paid so that they can feed themselves and their families.
9:22 am on Nov 21, 2018 (gmt 0)

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It's worth remembering that article 11 and 13 will affect many aggregators that use snippets, with google being the main aggregator.
The objective is to pay publishers for displaying the news snippets. Bearing in mind that there are, currently, no ads on Google News, the company is not earning from displaying,unlike some aggregators.
If Google decided to pay: The result of this change could be an extremely complex system of payments, with major publishers the big winners, and the smaller publisher losing out. It could also mean we'll see adverts around the news.
The other alternative is Google pulls the plug: If that happens, where will the publishers win their traffic? The old method of buying a newspaper meant the publisher would earn through sales of papers, and possibly, might, have made money on the sale of the newspaper, but mostly through the sale of advertising. If they had a low circulation the publisher couldn't command high ad rates. Pull away the Google news traffic and there's a loss to the numbers the newspaper ad department can brag about.

Can you see a newspaper taking the initiative and pulling out of Google News unilaterally? I doubt it. One in, all in.

As a consumer of news, how would I be affected if Google News pulled out? Personally, not too much as I don't think Google News is as good as it could be, but it'd be tougher to find individual stories. I'd probably visit the main publishers' sites directly, but i'd be unlikely to find the smaller publishers.
11:51 am on Nov 21, 2018 (gmt 0)

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@mack, you mean something like robots.txt? Why not just use robots.txt?

with major publishers the big winners, and the smaller publisher losing out.


Which is why we have this law. The big publishers are a very powerful lobby, and lobbied for it.

As a consumer of news, how would I be affected if Google News pulled out? Personally, not too much as I don't think Google News is as good as it could be, but it'd be tougher to find individual stories


Yes, UNLESS most small publishers opted in, in which case Google news users might see more of their stories. Small publishers stories plus a deal with a news sire service would still offer a lot more than any one major publisher can.

I mostly get my general news from Reuters these days - free and fairly comprehensive. I read other sites for specialist news.
12:59 pm on Nov 21, 2018 (gmt 0)

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@mack, you mean something like robots.txt? Why not just use robots.txt?


You make a good point, but robots.txt implies an opt-out policy. I was thinking more along the lines of news sites that want to remain in Google news register and download a unique file they upload to their server. (Similar to what we do with search console). Google then reads the file on their server to effectively opt the site in.

When we are on the topic of snippets what about snippets in search? Google is opening a can of worms by focusing purely on news search.

Mack.
2:05 pm on Nov 21, 2018 (gmt 0)

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Its an opt-out but if you have a robots.txt that allows crawling you have opted in.

I had a quick look at five major British newspaper sites - The Telegraph, The Guardian, the Daily Mail, The Express and The Sun.

All have a robots.txt. All have (XML) sitemaps listed in the robots.txt. All have user-agent * rules. Two have specific rules for Googlebot-News. That looks like consent to be crawled to me, especially in the case of the two that have the specific rules.

I dislike the idea of Google specific rules because it makes life harder for smaller competitors. No one is going to add rules for, for example, DuckDuckGo news, and not many so they will be locked out. Only one of the above had any Bing specific rules, and no specific rules for any other bots at all apart from additional disallows for rather random looking lists of them.
7:00 pm on Nov 21, 2018 (gmt 0)

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To clarify, I mean "Google specific systems" not "Google specific rules" in the last para.
7:45 pm on Nov 21, 2018 (gmt 0)

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You make a good point, but robots.txt implies an opt-out policy.

There wouldn't be any such implication if Google required an "opt in" line in robots.txt for Google News to crawl the site's pages.

Still, the idea of an ID file uploaded to the server might make sense, just because it would provide more accountability than a line in a robots.txt file. And, of course, Google could require the publisher to accept the Google News TOC before being provided with an ID file.
8:50 pm on Nov 21, 2018 (gmt 0)

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This isn't a robots.txt issue. A better analogy would be a separate file, comparable to ads.txt, that contains specific information targeted at specific users.

But aren't there already enough possible tags and headers expressing preferences about archiving, snippets and similar?
9:48 pm on Nov 21, 2018 (gmt 0)

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I also think that, news sites accepting the rules of the game, can let Googlebot in, and others who do not want to be listed at Google News, simply block Googlebot.

The EU's ideas is : Google HAS to display news sites AND pay for it.

The same way as the EU's ideas is, we set up the GDPR, so Google (and other sites) will stop tracking users, and still continue to provide access to their pages.
1:26 am on Nov 23, 2018 (gmt 0)

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Am I an unusual person?

I have never, ever used Google news, I have asked around tonight and none of my friends do.

So, I'm a Brit and usually always use the BBC and, because I use Windows 10 on various devices, use Bings news regularly.

Do I care if Google news closes? Nope!

Then again, I am not Google's target market and the above may be pure drivel to some:-)
1:42 am on Nov 23, 2018 (gmt 0)

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use Bings news regularly
Where Google goes--or is sent--bing will follow.
11:10 am on Nov 23, 2018 (gmt 0)

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Just a reminder that article 11 and 13 will affect all aggregators in Europe, and it'll also affect the use of snippets.

This is a big deal for many, many businesses and Google is only one that will be affected.
1:59 am on Nov 24, 2018 (gmt 0)

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Who can make money out snippets?
8:26 am on Nov 24, 2018 (gmt 0)

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Who can make money out snippets?

Google is not making money "directly" from Google News, since no ads are running. But, having all the news under one hand, is common, so lot of people go directly to Google News to check what is going on. Also, lot of people are fine with just a head line and snippet, and are not visiting the news sit publishing the article. I believe this is this part, that "some" news sites are complaining about. Considering that Google is using their content, at their expense.

May be one day, the EU will come after Google for its answer box too :)
4:04 pm on Nov 24, 2018 (gmt 0)

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It's pretty clear that Google can do a lot with weaving a "snippet" into something that won't lead to a click-through. I'm sure they could make result #1, story 1a, then make a clever snippet in result #2, story 1b. By the time you get to result #3, you have a good enough idea of the story and you move on. If every snippet was the same? Right. People would have to click through because they aren't getting enough of the story from the "snippets".

Let's not be dummies. Any of those news sites lucky enough to be listed depend on what for revenue? Duh. Ads. And who runs online ads? Duh. Who gets a chunky percentage of online ad click revenue? Duh. Google has ZERO to lose. Either people stay on Google or they click through and they have to share a bit more of ad revenue with their partner. Either which way, the Google strainer gets theirs.

I guess there are some things that a university education doesn't teach.
12:06 pm on Nov 26, 2018 (gmt 0)

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The EU, which has no country of it's own, seems to be trying to seize the world by the horns and is deeply involved in global issues at this point. Do they even have legal authority to do this? Has anyone thought to check?
11:09 pm on Nov 26, 2018 (gmt 0)

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Standard over-reach, on both sides. G has sewed up the "serps" and bureaucrats (and their lobbyists) want a piece of the pie ... by threatening fines and sanctions since they have no skin in the game.

Cat bird seat fellows won't worry about this. Shut it down and don't play the game. The lobbyists will come around after the drought sets in.
 

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