Friday, February 5, 2010

Google News to Publishers: Let's Make Love Not War

In the view of some traditional media execs, Google is a digital vampire or a parasite or tech tapeworm using someone else's content to profit. As that rhetoric heated up in the past year, Google has responded not with equal amounts of invective but with entreaties to help publishers.

Google launched Fast Flip to help bring old-style page flipping to the web, promoting higher forms of visual journalism and sharing ad revenues with publishers. Then came Living Stories, a new format for updating stories at one URL, designed in tight collaboration with the New York Times and Washington Post. Google realized old-line media were hurting (and lashing out at them), so they wanted to help.

"Specifically for Google News, we don't see publishers as our competitors. We don't have a product without their content," said Josh Cohen, senior business product manager of Google News. "There's really a symbiotic relationship there. We don't have a product without high quality content to index, whether it's on Google News or Google overall. So part of it is there's interest in making sure that content thrives online. There's a balance there of the benefit that we certainly get from being able to index the content, and the benefit we give to publishers in the form of traffic."

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