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Google announces $ 1 billion investment in the future of news

Illustration for article titled Google to Journalists: Shut up and take the money

photo:: Justin Sullivan (Getty Images)

After spending most of the last decade choking every possible penny From the digital media industry, Google is finally getting the warmth it deserves. More and more people are realize The company’s monopoly on digital advertising is one of the culprits behind a amazing number of layoffs in the newsroom. Regulators recognize that this digital dominance could play a serious role Antitrust law. Together, this means a massive headache for Google that, in the company’s eyes, can be resolved with one thing: a decent payout.

The company’s latest attempt to reclaim the goodwill of publishers is a three-year, multi-billion dollar partnership targeting the company’s newest product, the Google News Showcase. CEO Sundar Pichai unveiled the showcase in one Company blog post Today’s pledge would highlight the “editorial curation of award-winning newsrooms” and help these newsrooms build “deeper relationships” with their readers.

Showcase debuts first in standalone mode Google News app for Android, with an accompanying rollout for iOS users “soon”. As the name suggests, the app will literally start to “showcase” the top stories of the day as carousel under the personalized daily report of the app. Next to the headlines are these stories show Summaries of the story in question, related articles, and more. And according to Pichai’s post, similar shop window functions will come onto the market Google’s Discover feed and search engine “in the future”.

Illustration for article titled Google to Journalists: Shut up and take the money

graphic:: Google (Getty Images)

I know it sounds pretty similar to the average app most of us are using to read messages on our phone right now. But Pichai wants you to believe that Showcase – which is being tested with around 200 “leading publications” in Canada, the EU, and Latin America before wider rollout in the future – is not just news. It is the future of news:

The business model for newspapers – based on ads and subscription revenue – has evolved for more than a century as audiences turned to other news sources, including radio, television, and later the proliferation of cable television and satellite radio.

The caption here is that Google owns a chunk of every part of these ecosystems that Pichai chatted about. When we started reading podcasts to find out more about our news, Google adjusted its ad serving systems Hyper-targeting audio ads. When we started getting more news on our smart televisions, these systems were introduced TV targeting capabilities, to. And when authorities in countries across the Atlantic forced Google’s hand to give to publishers The company has proven it doesn’t go beyond that threaten to break his own news products for the region in retaliation.

With the announcement of Showcase, it seems to Google that it is enough to give publishers shiny new packaging for stories and call it a “clear-cut approach” to distract us – and regulators – from the way we are their business model seems to be to swallow every news source before our eyes.

However, the truncation that Google typically makes on a particular partner publisher is a closely guarded secret Last year the company opened this black box little bit to show that publishers usually earn around 69 cents for every dollar an advertiser spends on their website. According to Google’s own Support page Description of its audience-oriented platform, the company The stories that may appear in the Google search engine are reduced even further. Only 51% can be traced back to the publisher in question.

And of course for people who want to pay to endorse their local news sites, Google urges his publishing partners give readers the opportunity to do so Subscribe with your Google accountand promises them that technology will usually deliver one serious uptrend to subscription numbers. But When these readers subscribe to this system, the company picks up a 30% cut of the money the reader pays for the first year and 15% for each year thereafter.

We cannot single-handedly calculate what Google could do with the media industry in general (even though humans) have tried) we know how much Google has recently earned through advertising: 2019 investor documents from its parent company, Alphabet, Report that Google had approximately $ 98 billion in revenue from Search and Others this year. Advertising.

Think about it versus what it offers publishers: $ 1 billion broken down three years for a grand total of just over $ 333 million per year. This is not just a visit Google’s giant bucket of money, but it’s unlikely to go where it’s needed most. While Pichai’s blog about Showcase promises that this sum will be directed to “high quality” publishers They can present their “high quality” content. The two biggest advertising giants of our time – Google and Facebook – have proven that they don’t understand what expression actually means. In 2019, Facebook’s dedicated news tab Breitbart pushedStories among those found to be of good quality and trustworthy. LGBTQ focused websites that use Facebook or Google tools to keep the lights on have found their stories incorrectly marked as pornographic or obscene and demonized – or finally closed-as a result. The same goes for power outlets that are designed for it Black or Latinx readers as advertisers tend to flag Any story in which critical discussions about race or immigration are considered too “controversial” for their brands and money. It’s these tiny paper cuts that lead to massive bleeding wounds over time (or indefinite vacation days) for the relevant publications.

I could go on here, but instead let’s look at Pichai’s closing remarks on the showcase announcement, in which he describes digital media as the “final change” in the way we consume our messages:

The internet was the last change, and it certainly won’t be the last. Together with other companies, governments and civil societies, we want to do our part to ensure that journalism not only survives but also thrives in the 21st century.

The kind of shtick that Google pulled here and abroad Don’t point to a company that wants journalism to thrive. It indicates a company that wants to thrive on the backs of journalistsand want these journalists to take the scant payout it is Offer in exchange. Personally, I think we are better than that.

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