Google introduces ads to Google News

February 26, 2009 by Chris Lefkow
A visitor walks past the logo of internet search engine giant Google at a trade fair. Google has introduced ads to the results of search queries on Google News in a move aimed at turning the news aggregation site into a money-making venture that may raise the hackles of newspapers and other media outlets.

Google has introduced ads to the results of search queries on Google News in a move aimed at turning the news aggregation site into a money-making venture that may raise the hackles of newspapers and other media outlets.

Josh Cohen, a business project manager at Google, announced the change in a post on the official Google News blog on Wednesday.

"What this means is that when you enter a query like iPhone or Kindle into the Google News search box, you'll see text ads alongside your News search results -- similar to what you see on regular Google searches," Cohen wrote.

A search for Kindle, Amazon's electronic book reader, for example, returns links to news articles and a list of "sponsored links" such as Amazon's Kindle page and ads for other readers such as Sony's eBook device.

"In recent months we've been experimenting with a variety of different formats," Cohen said. "We've always said that we'd unveil these changes when we could offer a good experience for our users, publishers and advertisers alike."

"We'll continue to look at ways to deliver ads that are relevant for users and good for publishers, too," Cohen said, adding that the ads would only appear on Google News search-results pages in the United States.

Google News aggregates headlines from more than 4,500 English-language news sources around the world and provides links to articles on their websites.

The articles are selected, according to Google, "by computers that evaluate, among other things, how often and on what sites a story appears online."

The introduction of ads to Google News search is the latest attempt by the Mountain View, California-based company to monetize its various Web ventures.

Google makes most of its money from Internet search advertising but gradually has been introducing advertising to other properties during the past year, such as YouTube, Google Maps and Google Finance.

Google purchased YouTube in 2006 for 1.65 billion dollars and has been searching for ways to translate its immense popularity into a money-making venture without alienating its huge fan base.

John Battle, a media analyst and the founder of Wired magazine, wrote on his blog, battellemedia.com, that the introduction of ads to Google News search was likely to prove controversial.

He noted that the Google announcement did not mention "sharing revenues with the news (organizations) who provide Google News its content."

"I presume that Google gets paid per click for action on those ad offerings," said Rick Edmonds, a media business analyst at the Poynter Institute, a Florida-based non-profit journalism school.

"But I doubt that they have any particular plans to share that with the people whose news they're aggregating."

Kelly McBride, another Poynter faculty member, said "it's always been obvious that Google didn't develop Google News as a public service -- they intended to make money off it.

"I'm OK with Google News making money," she said. "I hope that they will share it with the content creators."

Agence France-Presse and Google signed a licensing agreement in April 2007 giving the search engine the right to post AFP news and photos on Google News.

The agreement settled a lawsuit filed by AFP against Google in March 2005 accusing it of copyright infringement for allegedly posting AFP headlines, news summaries and photographs without permission.

(c) 2009 AFP

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