Google announced that it’s going to be shutting down Google News in Spain as the result of a new law in that country. The company has faced turbulence from publishers and governments in many countries (particularly in Europe), and this time, it’s just become too much, so the service is going away.
Google announced the news in a blog post talking about how revolutionary the product has been, and how the Internet has changed the news landscape before getting into the reason for the demise of Google News in Spain. Richard Gingras, Head of Google News, said:
But sadly, as a result of a new Spanish law, we’ll shortly have to close Google News in Spain. Let me explain why. This new legislation requires every Spanish publication to charge services like Google News for showing even the smallest snippet from their publications, whether they want to or not. As Google News itself makes no money (we do not show any advertising on the site) this new approach is simply not sustainable. So it’s with real sadness that on 16 December (before the new law comes into effect in January) we’ll remove Spanish publishers from Google News, and close Google News in Spain.
For centuries publishers were limited in how widely they could distribute the printed page. The Internet changed all that — creating tremendous opportunities but also real challenges for publishers as competition both for readers’ attention and for advertising Euros increased. We’re committed to helping the news industry meet that challenge and look forward to continuing to work with our thousands of partners globally, as well as in Spain, to help them increase their online readership and revenues.
Google didn’t offer much in the way of details about how it might work with partners in Spain, but I’d imagine we’ll be hearing more about that in time. It will also be interesting to see if any new news aggregation services, who are willing to pay the price, emerge in the country. More likely, the biggest publications will just get all of the traffic, and the smaller ones will suffer.
In the past, Google has faced a similar situation with ancillary copyright law in Germany, but ultimately, publishers there decided they needed Google, and forfeited payments. The difference in Spain, as Gingras noted, is that publishers have to charge.
Image via Google