back to article FT and Guardian eagerly grab Google's 30 pieces of silver

Money can’t buy you love, they say, but Google hopes it can mollify Europe’s newspaper publishers. Faced with antitrust action in Europe, the Chocolate Factory is pouring €150m directly into the pockets of European newspaper publishers to use on “digital projects”, the FT reports. The cash will fund “joint work on product …

  1. Daggerchild Silver badge


    I thought Google told the EU it was going to stop scraping content for non-Google-Search (the thing they're all compaining about). It was going to give them Googlebot controls to control where their content ended up inside Google.

    Any data on whether that happened, i.e. if any of the content-scraping compaints are still actually valid?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Scrapegoats

      They have always had that control. It's called the robots.txt and you can specify the standard search bot or Google News. It takes about 5 mins to place on a website (many CMS can automate for you).

      This Google News thing makes no sense, Google scrape about as much content as their regular search engine (i.e. hardly any and definitely not enough to allow you to read the whole story) along with some pictures. All the news orgs admit this brings them massive amounts of extra traffic. It's hardly a 'loophole' in copyright law it is specifically written in as a fair-use clause.

      It only seems to be a case of the News Orgs saying "we want some of Google's cash".

      1. Daggerchild Silver badge

        Re: Scrapegoats

        There is actually an important distinction in there, as the venerable Mr O would be delighted to explain.

        You want your site to appear on Google, so you need to let the Googlebot in, but if they take that content, like news or user-reviews, and put it into a Google News or Google Comparison thingy then they just boosted their own 'competing' product by taking your hard work, and you can't stop them as you need to be Googleable.

        If the snippet of News is too large, people don't need to click on the link (as most news is a small fact dressed up in puff). If they take your reviews they improve their product ranker and people don't then look for product rankers like yours. These are the things a Giant can step on. But remember, the *public* want to search for news summaries and reliable products quickly. Google may have to actively not do what the market demands in order to protect itself from the EU protecting the market.

        Now, it looks like GoogleBot has a bunch of clones these days who declare what service they're collecting the data for, so you can choose which Bot you give what data to, so you can make yourself Googleable, yet not feed any ancillary Googlenesses. This is why I'm curious about how much of all this scraping noise is still *actually* valid, and hence why people are banging drums about it.

        1. ratfox Silver badge

          Re: Scrapegoats

          As I understand it, German publishers had complete control on how much of their scraped data Google News would display. And they all eventually let Google News display as much as they wanted, because they would lose traffic otherwise.

          Google News is just another platform to advertise your web site. Instead of paying money for it, you have to agree to let them display your data for free. But you can hardly complain that you're losing business because your competitors are advertising their product more aggressively than you.

          Google News might be especially troublesome for big publishers, since it is not a platform where they can "outspend" their smaller competitors, who seem more willing than them to "pay" for Google News coverage.

  2. Paul Shirley

    "it made $100m a year indirectly from Google News"

    In the overall business that's small enough G could shut down News without even noticing. Not sure how the companies or EU could prevent it, though I'm sure there's plenty of wishful thinking spread around Europe.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I see a potential conflict of interests .... at the next iPhone launch can Charles Arthur have "some of his travel, accommodation and food" expenses paid by both Apple and Google?

  4. John Styles

    Netherlands model

    Thinking of the Nathan quango idea (is it really that long ago, doesn't time fily), what I always thought would be a good wheeze in this country would be the system used by the Netherlands public broadcasting system, basically organisations with a certain number of members (who have to pay a certain membership fee to count) get a chunk of the airtime and licence fee (well, the Netherlands one is from general tax now IIRC).

    Given the degree people in this country all hate everyone different from themselves and are always willing to game any system I think this would add to the gaiety of the nation.

  5. Crazy Operations Guy Silver badge

    I don't mind them scraping articles

    But what I"m afraid of is Google scraping all a news agency's articles EXCEPT the ones critical of Google.

    I 'm afraid that Google will, like it did with search, becomes so dominate that people don't even view another source of news, which would allow Google to censor anything they wanted in order to control public opinion.

  6. Thought About IT

    Good journalism has to be paid for

    Given the stories which the Guardian has pursued, such as phone hacking, and the Snowden leaks, and the parlous state of its finances, I don't mind if it does accept Google's silver.

    1. h3

      Re: Good journalism has to be paid for

      True enough but the rubbish coming from e.g Jessica Valenti is just as bad that coming from the Sun columnist that is the person to hate right now.

      Leaves The Independent

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Idiocracy was a prophecy

    Let's face it. Most people are just plain stupid, and proud of it. They think Google is the Internet, and buy into government propaganda about the "Dark Web", as if anywhere that hasn't or can't be indexed by search engines is part of an inherently evil realm.

    The movie Idiocracy was a prophecy. We are watching what it predicted come true in our lifetimes.

    Yes, most people throughout history were just as stupid. But they had an excuse. Even with all the technical challenges it faces today, it still provides those of us living now free access to an unprecedented wealth of information about the world around us. We have no excuse.

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