Google may block its news service in Europe
Over the past few years, Google News has been tested many times by the strength of European lawmakers. When the pressure was too strong, the company took action, even blocking the work of the service in some countries.
That is what happened in Spain. In October 2014, the Spanish parliament voted to adopt amendments to the law on intellectual property. The amendments were called “tax on Google”, because lawmakers demanded that the corporation pay in favor of those media whose news appeared in search results and in Google News.
As a result, Google removed all Spanish media from its news aggregator. This happened on December 15, 2014, and almost immediately the attendance of the Spanish media sites decreased by 10-15%. A similar situation was observed in Germany - they passed a similar law there, after which the aggregator excluded German publications from sources of news that demanded payment of deductions. But the German media backed off and managed to negotiate with Google after they saw a dramatic drop in the attendance of their resources.
Then, already in 2016, the largest publishers of Europe filed a lawsuit against Google, being dissatisfied with the fact that the company uses the materials of articles for display in the snippets of the issue and Google News. Google has statedthat publishers are already receiving a percentage of deductions from advertisements placed on their pages. But the companies wanted more money in order to receive payments for demonstrating fragments of texts in snippets.
In the same 2016, lawmakers in the EU announced their intention to develop a new law that would allow charging payments to companies that broadcast news of some kind. This is not only Google (Alphabet), but also Facebook, as well as a number of other platforms. For several years, the document was worked out with the involvement of representatives from different countries, and now there is a very real possibility that the bill will be passed in the not too distant future.
All this has led to the fact that Google is now considering the possibility of completing the work of its news service in Europe. It will be not limited functioning, but complete blocking of the service. The Internet giant has several opportunities, it all depends on how the situation develops.
This is how a Google page may look after applying EU legal restrictions.
So far, the adoption of changes in legislation has been postponed, because representatives of individual countries do not agree with the language of the document. Changes in legislation are considered in one form or another since 2016. EU representatives believe that the changes are quite complex - they need to be discussed and optimized. The governing body of the European Union needs more time to form a unified position that would reflect the interests of all countries.
Google Inc. claims that it does not make money from its news service, so if you block it, the company will not have any problems. It may well be a problem for publishers to receive less traffic.
The latter, by the way, are not too concerned, at least for now. "Most Spanish publishing companies do not consider Google’s decision to leave the country significant," said the executive director of News Media Europe, an association that brings together a large number of publishers.
Representatives of another organization, European Innovative Media Publishers, do not agree with this opinion. They believe that restricting the freedom of publishers by blocking the ability to display their materials in as many news aggregators as possible will negatively affect the publishers themselves.
Google is considering the possibility of concluding contracts with various publishers, whose news will be published in Google News. But in this case, the corporation will decide for itself whom to choose. Most likely, the company will work with large publishing houses, which means automatic cutting off work with small ones. "It is unlikely that we will be able to reach an agreement with all European publishers at once," commented the situation on the head of Google News.
New legislative restrictions introduced in the EU may affect not only the news aggregator, but also Google's search service, which also displays news fragments. If the situation comes to a standstill, the search service will no longer be able to broadcast news materials, offering them to its users.