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Google Could Hurt Newspapers’ Websites

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More than a month has passed since Google struck a deal with the Associated Press, Agence France-Presse, the Press Association, and the Canadian Press, but an outcry has continued.  One onlooker believes newspapers’ sites will be hurt.

 Google Could Hurt Newspapers' Websites
Google Could Hurt Newspapers’ Websites

Let’s be clear: Peter Bale, the executive producer of MSN.co.uk, isn’t well-positioned to be an impartial onlooker.  He is positioned to be a well-informed one, though, and actually used to work as an editor of The Times.

So when Bale warned an audience at the Association of Online Publishers conference about the deal’s potential effects, people listened.  “[T]he agencies will consider it as welcome news,” Bale admitted, but according to The Editors Weblog, he continued, “publishers, the likes of the Guardian, Times and Sun, need to be aware of a bump down in traffic from that.”

Because, if you’ll recall, Google News has stopped linking to the same news articles at multiple sources.  Articles from the AP are now available through the AP, or, at most, one other party.  This change made for some much cleaner search results, but only by cutting out a lot of sites.

Google couldn’t admit to hurting anyone, of course.  “While publishers that use the newswires’ articles may see less traffic to their newswire articles coming from Google News, this change will allow for more room on Google News for their most highly valued content – original content,” the search giant stated.

And after all, it’s not like Google is bound to link to anything.  Also, people will still be free to seek out their news at any site they please.

Bale’s conclusion still seems accurate, however, and conflict between search engines (especially Google) and newspapers is likely to continue for as long as any of us are alive.  This is assuming that the much-discussed “death of print” doesn’t occur, but in that fight, Google’s deal with the AP and its pals probably won’t be the deathblow.

Google Could Hurt Newspapers’ Websites
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