According to the Wall Street Journal, Google is beginning to strike deals with news publishers across the world to have the licensing rights to post their news on the search engine. The financials of these deals is undisclosed. They have made initial agreements with media companies out of Germany, Brazil, and Australia.
There hasn’t been any update as to Google making deals with American news publishers, but there seems to be ongoing discussions. This could greatly shift how news is consumed by the everyday person. News aggregators like Google have not had to pay publishers for distributing their news and with the vast landscape that the internet provides, this could be changing fairly rapidly.
Apple does pay for their news publishers and like all things it falls back on the consumer. The News+ app is a subscription based model, and Facebook pays publishers as well. It seems that a deal Google makes will fall back onto the consumer one way or another. This is comparable to the likes of a “cable company paying TV programmers for shows”. It also could be aggravating to most, as I have already used up all my free NYTimes articles this month.
It makes sense why a news publisher would want to be paid to distribute their news on a platform. The content that they provide is valuable and with so many avenues that the internet provides, it does still leave Google slightly vulnerable from a distribution standpoint. But, as of now Google has this monopoly on aggregating information, search results, and even distributing the ads on the internet. Their power is unmatched, and it’s also for the most part unchecked.
News and information hasn’t been this available in the history of time, so now that it’s constantly being thrown in our faces we need to ensure that leveraging that news is secure and in our best interests. I don’t blame the news sites for wanting to be paid, but then the question is how will that affect search results?
When Google has more incentives to promote one source over another, which I’d bet they already do anyways, then it further leads to our news being slanted one way or another. But this slant goes towards what Google thinks is right/wrong or relevant/irrelevant. Their search algorithm is probably the most powerful trade secret in the world, and people who can manipulate it for their advantage also reap the benefits. And if an important story gets buried, it can be detrimental to our democracy. Like any AI, there are inherent biases that will play an effect in how the results come up.
In a true free market it should be up to the people to determine what sources are credible, relevant, and valid. The stories that have most influence according to the readers should get rewarded, not the publisher with the greatest advertising capital.
This is something to keep an eye on because the growth in independent media as a supplement to legacy media enables people like me to give news analysis and journalism to an audience without paying for massive distribution costs. It’s those who are really connecting with their audience and have a pulse of what’s going on that can have the most influence. If content distributers begin to squeeze out publishers in a monopolized market then it will be harder for people to keep the media honest and report real news. We have already seen the destruction of real journalism today in order to appease the masses and blur the lines of fact and fiction.
ThoughtLess is a combination of my news and analysis in what I hope to be a truthful and insightful method of commenting on our daily lives. If Google wants to pay me for that then sure I’ll take the money, but it not if it means that the consumer has to bear the brunt of that cost or I have to sacrifice any of my thoughts and opinions.