Google’s Inexorable March Towards Online Content Dominance
Google’s seemingly innocuous mission statement: To organize the world’s information, has often brought the search engine giant at loggerheads with publishers. In 2005, it was taken to court by a coalition of 8,000 publishers and authors who felt that Google Book’s adroit display of their books’ content on the web broke copyright law.
The lawsuit led to the Google Books Settlement Agreement four years later. Incidentally that was the year Google started its running war with newspaper mogul Rupert Murdoch over exactly the same issue, this time, focusing on his newspapers’ online content and the fact that Google indexed it without permission. It made the former threaten to ban Google from all his online news properties and it made the latter publicly state that online newspapers who did not wish to be indexed, would be excluded from Google search.
Information is Google’s lifeblood. Without information in its index the smartest search engine in the world is little more than a dumb site returning poor search results and that, usually, spells doom. This is a lesson that Google, a true child of the Web, has inscribed on its DNA. The company is as driven to gathering information as bees are driven to gather nectar.
In the face of tough opposition to its information-gathering appetites, Google has found different ways to circumvent the problem and many of them involve synergistic partnerships which benefit both parties involved, although exactly who benefits the most is open to debate.
In its Google Books Settlement Agreement, for instance, Google found ways to introduce a pay-to-view program that benefited authors and publishers and allowed the search engine to continue to gather the information it needs to thrive.
The latest initiative on this front is now aimed at bringing into its camp those who may have begun to gather in opposition under Rupert Murdoch’s banner. Called Google One Pass, the new initiative is a way for publishers of online content to manage both the digital content they create and those who may want to access it.Continued on the next page