Saturday, September 1, 2007

Google and the Associated Press

Holy Guacamole!

Google is going to host stories from the AP directly on its own site!

This is huge news from my perspective, and newspapers may view this deal as the fourth horseman of the apocalypse.

Though hardly anybody knows it, AP is a not-for-profit organization, funded by member subscriptions. In other words, it acts as the "pool" for many of the world's newspapers (and websites).

Now an elephant has jumped into the pool (AP story):

"Although the change might not even be noticed by many Google users, the decision to corral the content from the AP and other news services may irritate publishers and broadcasters if the move results in less traffic for them and more for (the) Internet's most powerful company.

Translation: if the users don't click through to the newspaper's site, the papers are cut out of the online advertising loop. Even though they're the ones "funding" the pool. Google is obviously going to be paying $$ for the news now too (no inside knowledge here, just common sense), but they are almost certain to get all the eyeballs.

A diminished audience would likely translate into less online revenue, compounding the financial headaches of long-established media already scrambling to make up for the money that has been lost as more advertisers shift their spending to the Internet.

Several other major Web sites, including Yahoo, Microsoft Corp.'s MSN and Time Warner Inc.'s AOL, have been featuring AP material for years within their sites. Google has an even larger potential audience because its search engine handles more than half of the online search requests in the United States.

However, despite Google's dominance in search, its news section lags behind the industry leaders. In July, Google News attracted 9.6 million visitors, trailing Yahoo News (33.8 million visitors), MSNBC (24.5 million), AOL News (23.9 million) and CNN (22.5 million), according to comScore Media Metrix."



Google is about to open up ANOTHER can of whup-ass on all other media companies, new and old.

On the bright side, this should make finding permanently valid links to my own stories a little easier. I'll be dis-inter-media-ting the newspapers' sites.

Funny enough, I couldn't find AP's story on this deal on Google's news site. It's here on the AP's own site and in a fair number of papers, but not on Google's news site.

I think it was in "Office Space" that they explained the theory of why it is best to lay off workers on a Friday.

I bring it up because this feels like a layoff notice for a lot of good reporters working at newspapers...

My visual summary of how this deal is likely to be interpreted by AP's regular newspaper subscribers:

As a final observation, I notice the NYT took Reuters on this story, rather than AP. Well, one wouldn't want to appear biased.

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