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Ear to the Ground

Google Can Help Newspapers, Says Google CEO

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Posted on Dec 3, 2009
Schmidt
Flickr/Gisela Giardino

Google CEO Eric Schmidt, shown here at a conference in Argentina in 2007, is confident about his company’s role in helping the news business.

Google Chairman and CEO Eric Schmidt has gazed into the future of the news business, and—surprise!—he sees Google playing a big, vital role. In his Wall Street Journal Op-Ed piece, Schmidt heralds the advent, in the not-so-distant future, of an era in which the Internet “will foster a new, digital business model.” Hmmm!  —KA

Eric Schmidt in The Wall Street Journal:

So when I think about the current crisis in the print industry, this is where I begin—a traditional technology struggling to adapt to a new, disruptive world. It is a familiar story: It was the arrival of radio and television that started the decline of newspaper circulation. Afternoon newspapers were the first casualties. Then the advent of 24-hour news transformed what was in the morning papers literally into old news.

Now the Internet has broken down the entire news package with articles read individually, reached from a blog or search engine, and abandoned if there is no good reason to hang around once the story is finished. It’s what we have come to call internally the atomic unit of consumption.

Painful as this is to newspapers and magazines, the pressures on their ad revenue from the Internet is causing even greater damage. The choice facing advertisers targeting consumers in San Francisco was once between an ad in the Chronicle or Examiner. Then came Craigslist, making it possible to get local classifieds for free, followed by Ebay and specialist Web sites. Now search engines like Google connect advertisers directly with consumers looking for what they sell.

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By Tim Kelly, December 4, 2009 at 6:30 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Google recently announced a “public” Domain Name Service, which is a critical component of the Internet.  It translates addresses like http://www.truthdig.com into something computers can understand, like 208.69.121.228.  So now Google will know what you search on, what you read for news, and where you go when you’re not searching or reading the news (even if you don’t use their operating system).  Add in that they hired a lot of people with U.S. high security clearances and it is obvious that Big Brother is spelled “G-o-o-g-l-e.”

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By Aaron Ortiz, December 3, 2009 at 4:17 pm Link to this comment

If the news media insist on bronze swords in the iron age, they are responsible for their own decline. It makes more sense to experiment and try new things and stay ahead of the curve. Witness the demise of once-invincible Kodak.

This is happening to other media as well, like music and film.

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