Blog Post

Google’s New News Search – Threat Or Opportunity For Publishers?

Google’s (NSDQ: GOOG) stated mission is to give access to all the world’s information – as of this month, that also means becoming the search on-ramp for several national newspaper sites. Type, say, “The Times” in to Google and, as well as the standard results, users are also shown an in-page search box inviting them to crawl Times Online. It’s the same for Guardian.co.uk, Mail Online, Sun Online and Telegraph.co.uk…

As the NYT and Martin Belam point out, there’s a risk here Google will take ad revenue from the publishers because, just like Google, every search query on the news sites shows another advert. It’s little more than can already be achieved using advanced search operators, but encouraging readers to search via Google rather than the publisher itself could reduce page impressions. But a couple of emails today found online news biz contacts rather sanguine on the matter…

Telegraph.co.uk digital editor Edward Roussel: “We will monitor how this works in practice, but my basic view is that, if this helps people find what they want in the way that they want, then it has to be a good thing. If it does such a great job as to make our internal search tool redundant, then that’s fine, too. At the end of the day we want people to read our content but we don’t mind how they find it.”

Guardian.co.uk blogs editor Kevin Anderson: Writing personally: “This might negatively impact newspapers’ revenue (but) the sad truth is that most news organisations have been very slow to improve (information architecture and search) parts of their services. Some news and media organisations have forced their users to use Google because their own search is unusable.”