A week ago, we wrote about the battles Google is facing with publishers, specifically in France and Brazil. In France, lawmakers have poposed a law which would require search engines like Google to pay publishers to license content just so they can link to it in Google News search results Google threatened to stop linking to publishers. In Brazil, the majority of newspaper publishers simply pulled out of Google News.
A new report from Quartz says that Google Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt is traveling to Paris next week “to discuss the issue”. The publication spoke with France’s minister of technology Fleur Pellerin:
“We don’t want to appear as a country that is anti-Google,” Pellerin told me in Boston today. “Obviously Google is a wonderful tool and Google is a major actor of the digital ecosystem.”
“What I would suggest—and what I’m going to suggest to Google and to the press–is to start negotiating, to start discussions for maybe three months, and try to find an agreement on a negotiated basis,” Pellerin continued. “And if they don’t, well we’ll see.”
Meanwhile, in Brazil, the publishers who have pulled out of Google News seem to be getting by just fine without it. The Knight Center for Journalism in the Americas, which originally reported on the issue, is now reporting that these publishers have only seen a decrease in web traffic of 5%. Isabela Fraga and Natalia Mazotte report:
“The (newspapers) themselves believed that the 5-percent loss was a price worth paying to defend our authors’ rights and our brands,” said Ricardo Pedreira, ANJ’s executive director in a phone interview with the Knight Center for Journalism in the Americas.
“The fact is, Google News is absolutely irrelevant in Brazil,” said Carlos Müller, ANJ’s communications advisor. “If you go into Google News now and search for (Brazil’s) President Dilma, you’re going to see that none of the websites of the main newspapers in the country are there.”
“It’s important to point out,” he added, “that the portals of some news companies are still (in Google News).”
It will be interesting to see if this influences publishers in other parts of the world, and if so, how much that really hurts Google, which always has thousands more sources and an entire blogosphere at its disposal, not to mention YouTube and Google+.