Google News redirects its wire search web traffic
Newspapers could see a drop in traffic redirected to their websites from Google News after a redesign of the site that will mean newswire stories carried by other publishers no longer show up in search findings.
Agreements between Google and four news agencies will also allow Google News to carry full stories on its own site for the first time, rather than its current practice of carrying a headline and a few snippets of text but sending readers to publishers' sites for the full story.
Publishers that routinely carry wire stories on their sites could lose traffic, affecting the prices they charge online advertisers - an increasingly important source of revenue as print circulation declines across most parts of the industry.
The four agencies - the Associated Press, the Canadian Press, the Press Association and Agence France-Presse - will supply a "feed" to Google News, allowing its algorithms to detect which sites are running wire copy and remove them from the search results.
Because the four wire services do not have their own consumer news websites, Google News will host their original articles on its own pages. Google did not disclose what agreements it had made for paying to carry content from the four agencies, which had challenged Google News in court before making peace with the search engine this year.
Google said its new approach, which will drive readers to the original source, "not only enhances the experience for users, [but] also gives proper recognition to journalists and publishers who work hard to break the news".
Other newswires with their own "destination sites", such as Reuters.com, could benefit from higher traffic as a result of the changes. "Creators of original content should benefit from this," said Josh Cohen, product manager for Google News. "The goal for Google News is to have as many different perspectives as possible."
The fact that many sites use the same wire copy has meant that "sometimes when you'll have five 'different' articles from different sources, they end up being from the same source".
The redesign, launched yesterday, will allow users to have "a better variety of sources and less duplication", Mr Cohen said.
The new approach would not favour the agencies' stories in search rankings, he added. Users would still be able to link to duplicate versions carried on other publishers' sites, he added. "This is not a blanket block on news agency content on newspapers' sites."
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