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Google CEO Eric Schmidt Fires Back at Newspapers

Reminds Them of What Google News Actually Does

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The Associated Press (AP) announced this week that it’s working on a system  to "protect" its content from being "misappropriated" online. WebProNews CEO Rich Ord posted a thought-provoking piece on the subject giving some background into the situation.

Yesterday, the Newspaper Association of America’s annual meeting was held in San Diego, and the AP was there along with Google CEO Eric Schmidt, whose search engine giant has largely been the focal point of discussions regarding the AP’s announcement. Here are some of the things Schmidt had to say:

Google CEO - Eric SchmidtHe told newspaper publishers, "I would encourage everybody: think in terms of what your reader wants. These are ultimately consumer businesses and if you piss off enough of them, you will not have any more." (via Guardian)

He also discussed a lack of innovation on the part of the newspaper industry. For example, he talked about improvements for taking better advantage of mobile.

"It’s obvious to me that the majority of the circulation of a newspaper should be online, rather than printed. There should be five times, 10 times more circulation because there’s no distribution cost," said Schmidt.

Schmidt’s comments bring to mind a recent study from Gartner looking at how newspapers need to be using social media more effectively. "In the wake of the economic challenges facing the U.S. newspaper industry, publishers are losing focus on the crucial imperative of how to capitalize on those consumers who remain loyal, engaged online and print readers," Gartner research vice president Allen Weiner recently noted.

On the subject of tweaking Google’s algorithm to lean towards "credible brands," Schmidt reminded people, "We actually do that in the case of Google News. Google News uses a relatively fixed set of sources which are selected based on exactly the kind of trust that you’re describing." (via paidContent.org)

He also made the following comments regarding Google’s Web Search:

"We’ve been careful not to bias it using our own judgment of trust because we’re never sure if we get it right. So we use complicated ranking signals, as they’re called, to determine rank and relevance. And we change them periodically, which drives everybody crazy, as or algorithms get better. … The usual problem is you’ve got somebody who really is very trustworthy, but they’re not as well-known and they compete against people who are better known, and they don’t—in their view—get high enough ranking. We have not come up with a way to algorithmically handle that in a coherent way."

"We don’t want to do the kind of thing you’re describing unless we can do it across the board and for all categories of trusted institutions, not just newspapers."

Google also posted an official blog post about how Google helps the newspaper industry. Meanwhile, other newspaper industry executives refer to Google as a parasite.

Google CEO Eric Schmidt Fires Back at Newspapers
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