Google News vs. Associated Press

Google News LogoThe end of this month is the expiration date for the licensing agreement between the Associated Press (AP) and Google that dictates their news distribution agreement. Google News has hosted AP content since 2007, but mysteriously, has not added new content from the news service since December 23. Various news sites are assuming that the omission is a sign that the renegotiations between the two giants may not be going so well.

Erick Schonfeld at TechCrunch reports that it is not the AP that is withholding content, although it has been goading Google since last year. He also writes:

[Google] is showing the AP in a very visible way what will happen if Google News no longer carries AP stories, and they are doing this before the negotiations are up so that the AP can measure the loss in readership that Google News brings. […] It almost seems like Google is trying to prove the opposite is true with online news: that distribution is king, not content.

Danny Sullivan at Search Engine Land confirms that the holdout is on Google’s part, though without giving an official reason either. He provides a possible alternative explanation:

Since the agreement only allows stories to be hosted for 30 days, it might be that Google’s covering the legal bases in case a new agreement isn’t reached. You don’t want a story going up on, say January 23, only to have to pull it down the next day.

Google News does still show AP stories that are licensed by other news providers such as The New York Times.

Google Fast Flip screen shot

Other recent developments for Google News is that it now features Fast Flip at the bottom of its U.S. homepage. (See screen shot above.) The project, which was launched in September, allows readers to view stories visually, more akin to a traditional newspaper or magazine. It also places ads next to the articles, and publishers receive a cut of the revenue. Almost 100 publications are currently involved. The official Google News blog reads, “Encouraged by the positive feedback we’ve received from users and partners, we decided to expose the service to more potential readers by integrating it with the U.S. English version of Google News.”

Google News’ Living Stories is also now included on the U.S. homepage. The project keeps all updates to a story under a single URL, which puts newer developments at the top of the page. Check out our post on Living Stories from a few weeks ago.

SOURCE: “Foxy Tactics: Google News Pulls The AP’s Content As Contract Comes Up For Renewal,” TechCrunch, 01/11/10
SOURCE: “Where’s AP In Google News? Apparently In Limbo, As Contract Running Out,” Search Engine Land, 01/08/10
Images: Google News logo/Fair Use: reporting; screen shot of Google News homepage.

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