Friday, 29 January 2021 10:29

Google directly appealing to Australian Google Search users over News Media code Featured

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Google is displaying a notice to Australian Google search users whenever they do a Google search, which leads to a YouTube video featuring Mel Silva, the MD of Google Australia, stating there is "a workable news code that doesn’t break Google Search."

With Google the most popular search engine in the world, despite the efforts of Bing, DuckDuckGo, Ecosia, Yahoo and others, Google effectively has a direct line to tens of millions of Australian eyeballs, whenever they search for something online.

You've probably already seen Google's notice, which I've embedded an image of below.

The notice states:

"Google Search is in the news
"You may have heard about a proposed law. We are willing to pay to support journalism."

"Hear our proposal"

When you click on "Hear our proposal" it takes you to the following YouTube video, which I've embedded below.

One of the first comments I can see is of someone called "Jason Brown" stating "Kudos to Google for allowing comments on this update, unlike their earlier video?"

In the 1 minute 54 second video, Mel Silva, who is the MD of Google Australia, "explains why there is a workable news code that doesn’t break Google Search. Learn more about what the News Media Bargaining Code means for you at https://g.co/AFairCode".

When you click on that last link, you are taken to a page entitled "Update on the News Media Bargaining Code and Google in Australia", where the same video can be seen, and where Mel Silva explains in text format Google's position and why is doesn't want the law to proceed, as it "breaks search".

iTWire colleague Sam Varghese has written extensively about the proposed law, with a recent article entitled "Memo to Google and Facebook: please pack your bags and go", which links to a range of other articles he was written.

Sam also wrote an article back on August 24, entitled "Google bid to prolong media code stoush until US election" where Google was doing something similar, except at the time the message read "Get informed. YouTube is at risk. Find out about a new law that would hurt your Google experience". 

Both the Australian Government and Google are now locked in a battle to see who prevails, with Google also undertaking an advertising campaign on TV showing how it helps Australian businesses.

If Google were to leave Australia, then Australians could use a VPN to access Google's services, but it certainly would be disruptive, and quite how this is all going to be resolved is unknown, even if it does seem unlikley that Google would leave Australia, with Mel Silva and thousands of other Google Australia employees theoretically then set to lose their jobs. 

MediaWeek has an article that explains Google News Showcase, while Search Engine Journal has an article that explains why Google is paying French publishers but fighting Australia

iTWire colleague Sam Varghese and many other journalists have written about this extensively over the past few weeks, and even Mel Silva's "A Fair Code" article was published a few weeks ago.

The news is that Google is now appealing directly to Australian search users at the top of search results, similar to the way they did about YouTube, but now about Google Search itself.

Make of that what you will, but the war is escalating, and whether end users or smaller news publications who aren't part of the News Showcase will end up better off than they are now is yet to be seen.


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Alex Zaharov-Reutt

Alex Zaharov-Reutt is iTWire's Technology Editor is one of Australia’s best-known technology journalists and consumer tech experts, Alex has appeared in his capacity as technology expert on all of Australia’s free-to-air and pay TV networks on all the major news and current affairs programs, on commercial and public radio, and technology, lifestyle and reality TV shows. Visit Alex at Twitter here.

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