23 March 2023

Google Move Will Hurt Spanish Publishers

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Google News operates differently than Google’s primary search service. But the two are linked in important ways that will mean less traffic from Google to Spanish publishers. Google said late Wednesday that it’s shutting Google News in Spain because a new law requires publishers to charge the Internet giant when it displays snippets of their stories in its news results. Google also is removing Spanish publishers from Google News world-wide.

Those publications will still show up in general Google searches, but that’s less significant than it appears. That’s because the news “cluster” that appears with many general search results is fed by Google News. So if Spanish publishers are excluded from Google News, they won’t appear in the news cluster of ordinary search results – meaning much less traffic from Google.

German media giant Axel Springer felt the impact earlier this year. A German law requires Google to secure the rights to publish any content other than links to articles and headlines. Google gave publishers a choice: offer those rights for free, or be excluded from the snippets and thumbnails on its news service.

Springer, a Google critic, demanded payment from Google for a time this fall and Google excluded snippets from some of Springer sites from Google News. Traffic to Springer sites from Google News plunged 80%, and traffic from Google’s general search service dropped about 40%. That prompted Axel Springer to relent. 

Publishers must apply and be approved by Google to appear in Google News, unlike its general search engine that constantly scours the Web. Google ranks results differently, too: newer information ranks highly on Google News, while the main search engine favors relevancy to a user’s query.

Another difference between Google News and Google Search: there are no ads in Google News. That helps Google fend off complaints by some publishers that it is profiting from their content.

Click here to access the full article on The Wall Street Journal. 

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