“The fact is, Google News is absolutely irrelevant in Brazil,” said Carlos Müller, communications advisor for National Association of Newspapers in Brazil (AJN), after a widespread boycott of Google’s popular news aggregator. Many empires, from News Corp to the entire country of France, have threatened to pull of Google because the search giant doesn’t compensate them for displaying snippets of their content, but none have yet to follow through out of the fear of boycotting the world’s most popular website. The AJN reports that Brazilian newspaper have seen a meager 5% drop in traffic, which not only justifies their own protest but could inspire a mass revolt online.
News aggregators like Google News ended the monopoly media outlets once had over their own content. Users can quickly scan headlines from hundreds of news sources without ever actually visiting the website, all while Google profits from advertisements displayed next to headlines. “With the rise of search engines and news aggregators on the internet, newspapers lost an important part of that chain of value. I think that this move to step out of a search service is an attempt to regain dominance here,” said Eugenio Bucci, a professor at the University of São Paulo (ECA-USP).
When France recently made a similar complaint, Google responded that it sends over 4 billion clicks to French sites each month. Laws that curtail the search engine’s ability to crawl or display content, “would threaten its very existence,” argues Google. Indeed, Chairman Eric Schmidt is headed over the France right now on a (please, please don’t divorce us) goodwill mission to smooth things out.
The statistics should be taken with a Amazonian-size grain of salt. Not all newspapers have pulled out and the source isn’t exactly objective. But, if its mostly true, Google could be in trouble.