A lot of noise emerged when Google News have decided to serve ads on its search results. Back in 2002, a lot of people think that Google have finally made something that does not have monetary value – that is Google News. However, with the recent changes in the news industry – lower sales and readership – Google News is now serving ads on its pages.
At first, this may seem like an inevitable thing to do. With the boom of readers to 12.5 million according to ComScore, it may seem like Google is just reaping the benefits of their labor. As Google business product manager Josh Cohen said, this is just a transition so they can introduce paid listings in their news.
However, what Google don’t know is that this may do them more harm than good. First, they have forgotten that their sources are major media companies. There is a chance of being sued if they try to put advertisements on someone else’s content. Google used to be strict on copyright infringement but now they may be taking their own pill.
Some may argue that Google is not really infringing on copyrights because they just compile headlines and summaries. However, as Sandra Baron, executive director at the Media Law Resource Center says, there will be tension when Google News has become a substitute for going to the provider’s website. She also adds
“When that tension becomes too great, people seek legal solutions to it.”
Another problem is the relevance of advertisements to the Google News results. As Edelman tackled in his post “Ads in Google News turn it into a PR Playground”, some sponsored links may promote fake news. This will then provide confusion and mistrust on the Google News results.
The problem may also lie on how easy the advertisements can be acquired. As Walter Isaacson said
“Also, what Google does is it allows ads to be spread all over the Web. You can go to Google ad servers and put ads on any site there is.”
A legal case has been filed before in Belgium. A group of content owners forced Google to remove their content from Google News and Google.be. This is just an indication that Google can be sued for monetizing its news website.
In the end, Google, in general, should learn to provide more quality than quantity. As Wall Street Journal Managing Editor, Robert Thomson said.
“Google doesn’t distinguish between the quality of the content around which it serves up ads, it is concerned with quantity rather than quality”.