Aug 28, 2009

Google, competition and confusion

I think people are confused on the effects google has on competition. The latest case is from, not by accident, Italy, where the Federation of Newspapers Editors is accusing Google through its Google News of "abuse of dominant position", as reported by the FT. Why? They claim that, since Google has a 90% market share for internet searches, if one newspaper opts out from Google News, they are excluded from the core search engine. Google replies that its core search engine cannot exclude content from its core search engine, which I tend to believe.
Beside this non-existent problem then, the confusion is on the part of the Italian Regulators who claims that Google News "made it harder for newspapers to attract readers and advertisers directly to their own sites". How is it possible? I don't know. Google news put all the headlines together: it makes easier for readers to select their preferred news; thus, if possible, it increases the chance for people to reach certain content and related advertising on the newspapers.
I suspect that the real problem is competition per sè: by putting all the newspapers together, people may recognize which ones are doing proper information and can easily compare quality, thus making the work of newspapers harder. More competition, not less.

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