Google announces $ 1 billion investment in future of news

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Illustration from the 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 penny possible from the digital media industry, Google is finally getting the warmth it deserves. More and more people realizing the company’s monopoly on digital advertising is one of the culprits of a staggering number layoffs in newsrooms. Regulators are realizing that this digital domination could constitute a antitrust issue. Combined, this means a huge headache for Google that can, in the eyes of the company, be solved with one thing: a decent payment.

The company’s latest attempt to reclaim the goodwill of publishers is a three-year, billion-dollar partnership that will go toward the company’s latest product, the Google News Showcase. CEO Sundar Pichai unveiled the showcase in a corporate blog post earlier today, the pledge would highlight the “editorial curation of award-winning editors” while helping those editors to build “deeper relationships” with their readers.

Showcase debuts standalone Google News app for Android, with an accompanying rollout for iOS users coming “soon”. As the name suggests, the app will literally start “showcasing” the main stories of the day as a carrousel under the application’s personalized daily brief. Along with the headlines, these stories show summaries of the story in question, related articles, etc. And according to Pichai’s post, similar storefront features are expected to arrive Flux Discover de Google and search engine “in the future”.

Illustration from the article titled Google to Journalists: Shut Up and Take the Money

Graphic: Google (Getty Images)

I know this is a lot like the average app most of us use to read the news on our phone right now. But Pichai wants you to believe that Showcase – which is being tested with around 200 “top posts” across Canada, the EU, and Latin America ahead of wider roll-out in the future – isn’t. not just news. His the future of news:

The newspaper business model – based on ads and subscription revenue – has evolved for more than a century, with audiences turning to other sources of information including radio, television and, later, the media. proliferation of cable television and satellite radio.

G / O Media can get a commission

The subtext here is that Google owns a part of every part of these ecosystems that Pichai talked about. When we started to turn to podcasts for more of our news, Google tweaked its ad serving systems to hyper targeted audio ads. When we started getting more of our news through our smart TVs, these systems started to adopt TV targeting capabilities, also. And when the authorities of the countries across the Atlantic forced Google’s hand by giving publishers a greater reduction in their advertising dollars, the company has proven that it is not above threatening to break its own information products for the region in retaliation.

With the Showcase announcement, Google seems to feel that giving publishers shiny new packaging for articles and calling it a ‘separate approach’ is enough to distract us – and regulators – from how its business model seems to be swallow all the news sources before our eyes.

The discount Google typically takes from a given partner publisher is a well-kept secret, but last year the company opened that black box. a little bit to reveal that publishers typically earn around 69 cents for every dollar an advertiser spends on their site. According to Google page d’assistance Outlining its platform for publishers, the company takes an even larger share of any stories that might appear in Google’s search engine, with just 51% going to the publisher in question.

And of course, for people who want to pay to support their local news sites, Google urges its partner publishers to give readers the opportunity to subscribe with their Google account, promising them that technology generally offers a serious increase to subscription numbers. But when these readers subscribe through this system, the company takes a 30% reduction of the money the reader pays the first year and 15% for each year thereafter.

Although we cannot calculate on its own how much Google might gain from the media industry in general (although people have tried), we know how much Google has benefited from advertising recently: Investor documents 2019 of its parent company, Alphabet, report that Google generated approximately $ 98 billion in revenue that year from “search and other” advertising.

Think about it against what it offers publishers: $ 1 billion, spread over three years for a grand total of just over $ 333 million per year. It’s not just a drop in Google’s huge bucket of money, but it’s unlikely to even go where it’s needed most. While Pichai’s blog on Showcase promises that this money will go to “high quality” publishers, they can show off their “high quality” content, the two biggest advertising giants of our time – Google and Facebook – have proven that they do not understand what the phrase really means. In 2019, the dedicated Facebook news tab glissa Breitbartamong those that have been found to be of high quality and trustworthy. LGBTQ-focused sites that use Facebook or Google’s tools to keep their lights on have found their stories to be reported in error as pornographic or obscene and demonetized – or finally closed-Therefore. Ditto for points of sale oriented towards Black readers or Latinx, from advertisers tend to book any story involving critical conversations about race or immigration as being too “controversial” for their brands – and their money. It is these tiny cuts of paper that over time represent massive bleeding wounds (or indefinite leave) for the relevant publications.

I could continue here, but instead let’s look at Pichai’s closing remarks on Showcase’s announcement, when he called digital media the ‘latest change’ in the way we consume our news:

The internet was the last change, and it certainly won’t be the last. Along with other businesses, governments and civic societies, we want to play our part in helping 21st century journalism not only survive, but thrive.

The kinds of shtick Google pulls here and abroad don’t point to a company that wants journalism to thrive, period. This denotes a business that wants to prosper on the backs of journalists, and wants these journalists to take the paltry payment it’s offer in return. Personally, I think we are better than that.

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