Google: Handwaving before the Regulators Arrive

October 15, 2020

Google News Makes a Show of Playing Fair

Well this is an interesting attempt to buy off an industry. Fast Company reports, “Google Will Pay Publishers $1 Billion to Quell Claims of Unfairly Profiting from their Content.” Google recently unveiled Google News Showcase, an initiative that will pay some publishers for content it already swiped. I mean, published. The company’s announcement on its blog calls this Google’s biggest financial commitment to publishers to date—all to avoid a much larger, legally mandated payout later, we’d warrant. Writer Michael Grothaus observes:

“But the Showcase initiative isn’t an altruistic move on Google’s part. The search giant has come under increasing pressure from publishers and regulators in recent years about the way it profits from the work publishers do. In short, Google’s News service currently works by pulling story headlines and descriptions from the publishers’ websites, populating the News service with their content. Google has always maintained its News service is good for publishers, as it sends traffic to their sites. However, publishers say Google gets the far better end of the deal since their content drives clicks to the Google News platform and because Google keeps most of the profits from the ads served on its platform. Given the profits Google generates, $1 billion over three years doesn’t seem like a whole lot of money. But for now, some publishers, at least, seem willing to take any handouts. Google says over 200 publishers have already signed up, including Germany’s Der Spiegel. As for the News Showcase itself, the new platform will first launch on Google News on Android devices, followed by iOS devices later this year.”

Just how different will this “Showcase” be from the existing Google News? The platform will probably highlight content from publishers that agreed to play ball. Otherwise, we expect the differences to be minor.

Cynthia Murrell, October 15, 2020


One Response to “Google: Handwaving before the Regulators Arrive”

  1. Google Publisher Payoff is Murdoch Approved : Stephen E. Arnold @ Beyond Search on October 26th, 2020 5:15 am

    […] these companies’ practices and pressed for new regulations. Now, though, it looks like Google’s recent move to appease regulators has the news magnate convinced that company is ready to play fair. Axios […]

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