For the faithful and/or lazy who still get periodic email from this humble blog, I guess we’ll have to find other means of distribution, as Feedburner1 is deprecating certain features, including the email-of-new-posts feature.
Starting in July, we are transitioning FeedBurner onto a more stable, modern infrastructure. This will keep the product up and running for all users, but it also means that we will be turning down most non-core feed management features, including email subscriptions, at that time.
What FeedBurner users can expect
For many users, no action is required. All existing feeds will continue to serve uninterrupted, and you can continue to create new accounts and burn new feeds. Core feed management functionality will continue to be supported, such as the ability to change the URL, source feed, title, and podcast metadata of your feed. Basic analytics on feed requests and the ability to create enclosure tags for MP3 files will also continue to be supported.
So what is changing? We are turning down most non-core feed management features that help you optimize and publicize your feed, e.g. email subscriptions, Browser Friendly, and Password Protector.
I’m not sure what I’ll do to replace this functionality. Or when. I suspect there are other tools I can use, but I don’t know what they are, yet.
To be honest, I’m pleasantly surprised that Google is keeping Feedburner at all!
Google Photos is now trialing a “monthly photo prints” subscription program.
Google will send you 10 prints that will be “automatically selected from your last 30 days of photos.” This subscription program is a way to “get your best memories delivered straight to your home every month.” For $7.99 per month, subscribers get 4×6 pictures printed on matte, white cardstock that features a 1/8-inch border.
While an automatic process leverages Google Photos’ smarts, you’ll be able to pick one of three themes for your monthly prints. Google touts the first “people and pets” option as being the “most popular.” Additionally, you can edit the photos before they’re printed.
Most people and pets: Relive your best moments of people and pets. Get prints featuring them and other great photos every month.
Mostly landscapes: Revisit your most memorable places. Get prints of your outdoor shots, city scapes, scenery pics, and more sent to you every month.
A little bit of everything: Mix it up! Get a mix of all your best moments! Photos of people, landscapes, and other photos delivered to you each month.
SmugMug/Flickr could emulate this, actually, and I’d probably consider it. I don’t use Google Photos, so unless there is an IFTTT recipe that automatically uploads Flickr images to Google Photos, this monthly scheme wouldn’t be viable for me.
Conceptually, I like the idea of having prints sent to me, selected by not-me. The 21st C.E. is buried in gazillions of photos, but most only exist in the digital realm, and aren’t physical objects that can be studied by future generations, or by our Robot Overlords, or whatever.
For a few months, I tried to capture my favorite images from the previous month in a gallery, but it is a hard project to sustain. Life happens, and that would get put to the back burner up until the next month’s batch was due.
Maybe I should try in 2020 to make an analog version of the Google algorithmic art selection, and make small prints every month from the previous month?
Terry Jones, founder member of Monty Python and director of three of Python’s celebrated feature films, has died aged 77, his family have announced. In a statement they said: “Terry passed away on the evening of 21 January 2020 at the age of 77 with his wife Anna Soderstrom by his side after a long, extremely brave but always good humoured battle with a rare form of dementia, FTD.”
…Born in Colwyn Bay, Wales, in 1942, Jones moved to England as a child, growing up in Surrey. While at Oxford studying English literature, he met fellow student Palin while performing in the Oxford Revue. After university, along with Palin, Jones wrote and performed in a string of TV shows alongside other future stars of British comedy – including Cleese, Graeme Garden, Bill Oddie, Eric Idle, Peter Cook and David Jason – on The Frost Report, Do Not Adjust Your Set and The Complete and Utter History of Britain.
In 1969, Palin and Jones joined Cambridge graduates Cleese and Graham Chapman – along with Idle and animator Terry Gilliam – on a BBC comedy sketch show. Eventually broadcast under the title Monty Python’s Flying Circus, it ran until 1974, with Jones largely writing with Palin (complementing Cleese’s partnership with Chapman). Seemingly chaotic, frequently surreal and formally daring, Monty Python’s Flying Circus would became one of the most influential shows in BBC history, revolutionising comedy formats, spawning scores of catchphrases, and inspiring an entire generation of comedians. Jones’s fondness for female impersonation was a key feature of the show, as was his erudite writing.
Why not? Maybe Google will help my site get slightly more traffic? In the golden age of blogging, I got 20,000 to 30,000 visits a day, with occasional spikes up to 70,000. That sort of traffic is long, long gone (didn’t help that I stopped posting frequently, and generally became a lazy blogger, also the industry changed, Facebook and Twitter became channels of communication, yadda yadda), perhaps I can recapture some of that magic?
I wonder if I should add back Google Ads? I never see them myself because I use a tracker blocker, but if they are irritating, it isn’t worth it for the amount of money it could bring in, especially if my daily traffic is less than 1,000 visitors a day.
Apple chief executive Tim Cook has demanded a tough new US data protection law, in an unusual speech in Europe.
Referring to the misuse of “deeply personal” data, he said it was being “weaponised against us with military efficiency”.
“We shouldn’t sugar-coat the consequences,” he added. “This is surveillance.”
The strongly-worded speech presented a striking defence of user privacy rights from a tech firm’s chief executive.
Mr Cook also praised the EU’s new data protection regulation, the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).
The Apple boss described in some detail what he called the “data industrial complex”, noting that billions of dollars were traded on the basis of people’s “likes and dislikes”, “wishes and fears” or “hopes and dreams” – the kind of data points tracked by tech firms and advertisers.
He warned that the situation “should make us very uncomfortable, it should unsettle us”.
Google exposed the private data of hundreds of thousands of users of the Google+ social network and then opted not to disclose the issue this past spring, in part because of fears that doing so would draw regulatory scrutiny and cause reputational damage.
A software glitch in the social site gave outside developers potential access to private Google+ profile data between 2015 and March 2018, when internal investigators discovered and fixed the issue, according to the documents and people briefed on the incident. A memo reviewed by the Journal prepared by Google’s legal and policy staff and shared with senior executives warned that disclosing the incident would likely trigger “immediate regulatory interest” and invite comparisons to Facebook’s leak of user information to data firm Cambridge Analytica.
For the past year, select Google advertisers have had access to a potent new tool to track whether the ads they ran online led to a sale at a physical store in the U.S. That insight came thanks in part to a stockpile of Mastercard transactions that Google paid for.
But most of the two billion Mastercard holders aren’t aware of this behind-the-scenes tracking. That’s because the companies never told the public about the arrangement.
Alphabet Inc.’s Google and Mastercard Inc. brokered a business partnership during about four years of negotiations, according to four people with knowledge of the deal, three of whom worked on it directly. The alliance gave Google an unprecedented asset for measuring retail spending, part of the search giant’s strategy to fortify its primary business against onslaughts from Amazon.com Inc. and others.
The technology giant is close to finalizing a lease for almost 14,000 square feet on the first and second floors of several connected, two-story brick buildings between 845 and 853 W. Randolph St., according to sources.
If completed as expected, Google’s deal will represent another milestone in the evolution of the longtime meatpacking district west of the Kennedy Expressway, where Google already has its Midwest office headquarters and more than 900 employees.
To date, Google’s only retail spaces have been pop-up stores and small shops within other stores.
Google’s lease will include former spaces of longtime area restaurants Jaipur and Perez.
Behind the connected buildings, an alley forms a pedestrian walkway between Peoria and Green streets. The property is directly across the street from the Nobu Hotel that is under construction.
I am very curious as to what exactly Google wants with a storefront. Are they planning to launch some new product? Expand the Next line? A new phone? Obviously, Alphabet has plenty of cash to throw around, but I’m puzzled as to what the point of this new endeavor is, other than being in the Hot West Loop1.
As frustrated as advertisers may be with Facebook these days, a bigger challenge may be finding a suitable alternative.
Whether many will actually try to do so remains the $55 billion question. That is what Wall Street currently expects Facebook to generate in advertising revenue this year. It is a big number that also happens to be 37% higher than what the company generated in ad sales last year. For comparison’s sake, Google’s ad business was growing about half as fast when it was the same size.
Perhaps most notable is that the majority of analysts haven’t brought down their projections for Facebook’s ad business even as controversy has engulfed the company over the last two weeks. Many instead are taking a wait-and-see approach. Questions over Facebook’s handling of user data has sparked an online campaign to #DeleteFacebook. But little is known now about whether that is having any effect. Facebook’s next quarterly report—likely about a month from now—will be the first real opportunity to see if users are fleeing or largely sticking around.
In the latter case, most advertisers likely will too. As controversial as Facebook may be right now, its scale and reach make the platform unique among advertising channels. The social network ranked highest in terms of return on investment among online advertising platforms in a survey by RBC Capital Markets. Interestingly, most of the survey took place in the latter half of March as the negative headlines about Facebook piled up. RBC analyst Mark Mahaney noted that Facebook even managed to edge out Alphabet Inc.’s Google for the top ranking for the first time.
Facebook plans on riding out this wave of bad PR, just as they have in the past. As long as people continue to use Facebook, and willingly be the product that is sold to advertisers, Facebook will continue profiting off your clicks.
As Vox writer Matthew Yglesias notes, Google collects as much or more information on us, yet they in return give something useful. Google search is the best search engine, usually, and Gmail is a good, free mail. What does Facebook offer in return for selling your data? A place to share photos of your children? A place to argue about politics? Why can’t that be done in the same way it was done before Facebook? The main selling point of Facebook is that it has a built-in audience for your content. But is it really worth it? Maybe because I’m a cynical Gen-Xer who wrote most of my college papers on a typewriter, but I wouldn’t miss Facebook if it vanished, especially if Twitter survived. I’m comfortable emailing people, if I needed to communicate with them. Maybe this sucky blog would start to get decent traffic again?
That Facebook’s relentless growth threatens the existence of news organizations is something that should make the architects of that relentless growth feel bad about themselves. They are helping to erode public officials’ accountability, foster public ignorance, and degrade the quality of American democracy.
Google, of course, poses similar threats to the journalism ecosystem through its own digital advertising industry. But Googlers can also make a strong case that Google makes valuable contributions to the information climate. I learn useful, real information via Google every day. And while web search is far from a perfect technology, Google really does usually surface accurate, reliable information on the topics you search for. Facebook’s imperative to maximize engagement, by contrast, lands it in an endless cycle of sensationalism and nonsense.
Facebook is actually bad for our media infrastructure, the media infrastructure which is an essential pillar to our democracy.
Meanwhile, Facebook is destroying the business model for outlets that make real news.
Facebook critics in the press are often accused of special pleading, of hatred of a company whose growing share of the digital advertising pie is a threat to our business model. This is, on some level, correct.
The answer to the objection, however, is that special pleaders on behalf of journalism are correct on the merits. Not all businesses are created equal. Cigarette companies poison their customers; journalism companies inform them.
And traditionally, American society has recognized that reality and tried to create a viable media ecosystem. The US Postal Service has long maintained a special discount rate for periodicals to facilitate the dissemination of journalism and the viability of journalism business models. Until last fall, the Federal Communications Commission maintained rules requiring licensed local broadcast stations to maintain local news studios.
The association between Facebook and fake news is by now well-known, but the stark facts are worth repeating — according to Craig Silverman’s path-breaking analysis for BuzzFeed, the 20 highest-performing fake news stories of the closing days of the 2016 campaign did better on Facebook than the 20 highest-performing real ones.
Rumors, misinformation, and bad reporting can and do exist in any medium. But Facebook created a medium that is optimized for fakeness, not as an algorithmic quirk but due to the core conception of the platform. By turning news consumption and news discovery into a performative social process, Facebook turns itself into a confirmation bias machine — a machine that can best be fed through deliberate engineering.
In reputable newsrooms, that’s engineering that focuses on graphic selection, headlines, and story angles while maintaining a commitment to accuracy and basic integrity. But relaxing the constraint that the story has to be accurate is a big leg up — it lets you generate stories that are well-designed to be psychologically pleasing, like telling Trump-friendly white Catholics that the pope endorsed their man, while also guaranteeing that your outlet gets a scoop.
For a better path forward, it’s worth looking at the actual life of Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg.
He likes to do annual personal challenges, and they are normally sensible. One year, he set about to learn Mandarin. Another year, he challenged himself to run 365 miles. He visited all 50 states and met and spoke face to face with people in each state he visited. He committed to reading a book cover to cover every two weeks.
This year, his challenge is to try to fix Facebook. But he ought, instead, to think harder about those other challenges and what they say about what he finds valuable in life — sustained engagement with difficult topics and ideas, physical exercise, face-to-face interaction with human beings, travel. This suggests a healthy, commonsense value system that happens to be profoundly and fundamentally at odds with the Facebook business model.
To simply walk away from it, shut it down, salt the earth, and move on to doing something entirely new would be an impossibly difficult decision for almost anyone. Nobody walks away from the kind of wealth and power that Facebook has let Zuckerberg accumulate. But he’s spoken frequently about his desire to wield that wealth and power for good. And while there are a lot of philanthropists out there who could donate to charities, there’s only one person who can truly “fix” Facebook by doing away with it.
Google has begun using billions of credit-card transaction records to prove that its online ads are prompting people to make purchases – even when they happen offline in brick-and-mortar stores, the company said Tuesday.
The advance allows Google to determine how many sales have been generated by digital ad campaigns, a goal that industry insiders have long described as “the holy grail” of online advertising. But the announcement also renewed long-standing privacy complaints about how the company uses personal information.
To power its multibillion-dollar advertising juggernaut, Google already analyzes users’ Web browsing, search history and geographic locations, using data from popular Google-owned apps like YouTube, Gmail, Google Maps and the Google Play store. All that information is tied to the real identities of users when they log into Google’s services.
The new credit-card data enables the tech giant to connect these digital trails to real-world purchase records in a far more extensive way than was possible before. But in doing so, Google is yet again treading in territory that consumers may consider too intimate and potentially sensitive. Privacy advocates said few people understand that their purchases are being analyzed in this way and could feel uneasy, despite assurances from Google that it has taken steps to protect the personal information of its users.
especially since all this data is vulnerable to hackers
Paul Stephens, of Privacy Rights Clearinghouse, a consumer advocacy group based in San Diego, said only a few pieces of data can allow a marketer to identify an individual, and he expressed skepticism that Google’s system for guarding the identities of users will stand up to the efforts of hackers, who in the past have successfully stripped away privacy protections created by other companies after data breaches.
“What we have learned is that it’s extremely difficult to anonymize data,” he said. “If you care about your privacy, you definitely need to be concerned.”
Such data providers have been the targets of cybercriminals in the past. In 2015, a hack of data broker Experian exposed the personal information of 15 million people.
Sen. Tom Cotton on Thursday slammed his colleagues’ efforts to pass sweeping criminal justice reforms, saying the United States is actually suffering from an “under-incarceration problem.”
Cotton, who has been an outspoken critic of the bill in Congress that would reduce mandatory minimum sentences, smacked down what he called “baseless” arguments that there are too many offenders locked up for relatively small crimes, that incarceration is too costly, or that “we should show more empathy toward those caught up in the criminal-justice system.”
“Take a look at the facts. First, the claim that too many criminals are being jailed, that there is over-incarceration, ignores an unfortunate fact: for the vast majority of crimes, a perpetrator is never identified or arrested, let alone prosecuted, convicted, and jailed,” Cotton said during a speech at The Hudson Institute, according to his prepared remarks. “Law enforcement is able to arrest or identify a likely perpetrator for only 19 percent of property crimes and 47 percent of violent crimes. If anything, we have an under-incarceration problem.”
In its first five years, the Google Cultural Institute scanned and archived 200 works of art in super-high-resolution gigapixel images. Now in just the past few months, it has managed to scan another 1,000.
The sudden expansion is thanks to a new camera developed by Google, simply called the Art Camera. It’s designed to be far simpler to use than other camera setups, making it easier for museums and other institutions to start digitizing the art and documents in their collection. And critically, it’s also much faster.
“The capture time has been reduced drastically,” says Marzia Niccolai, technical program manager at the Cultural Institute. “Previously it could take almost a day to capture an image. To give you an idea, now if you have a one meter by one meter painting, it would take 30 minutes.”
Hey, do you remember back in 2012 when hackers hit LinkedIn, stole a few million passwords, and released them online? It was a while ago, so don’t feel bad if you don’t. LinkedIn simply can’t leave the breach behind, though: there are now another 117 million e-mail addresses and passwords for sale on an underground marketplace.
…Sure, the data is old, but people do tend to use the same password from one site to another, which means that the credentials might still be useful for accessing other sites, even if users have already changed their passwords, or LinkedIn reset them.
After an initial report on Motherboard that the the cache was for sale for 5 bitcoin ($2,285), LinkedIn confirmed that the leaked information is genuine. “We are taking immediate steps to invalidate the passwords of the accounts impacted, and we will contact those members to reset their passwords,” the company said in a post on its official blog. “We have no indication that this is as a result of a new security breach.” Well, that’s… still not comforting.
Still waiting for Ted Cruz to admit he’s told lies, you know, sinned. Oh that’s right, for Ted Cruz’s brand of Christianity, lying your ass off is fine as long as you lie to attack liberals.
Last year liberals took a break from attacking veterans, unborn babies, and Christmas to wage war on cops. Like all the other wars that didn’t actually happen, this one was deserving of a full-court press on Fox News and became a centerpiece of the Cruz campaign. … Cruz, of course, blamed Obama. And complained about Obama’s “complete silence” following the shooting of a deputy—a silence in which Obama had already made comments, issued a statement, and called the deputy’s relatives. But faster than you can repeat “Obama won’t say radical Muslim terrorists,” the entire right was singing the chorus of how liberals hate cops, cops were getting massacred, and it was all the left’s fault for backing horrible, life-threatening ideas like not shooting unarmed 12-year-olds, and accountability. In New York City, the police union went so far as to insist that officers shouldn’t conduct arrests because of “wartime” conditions.
The narrative continued through the year, but now that all the numbers are in …
Data released by the FBI on Monday shows that 2015 was one of the safest years for U.S. law enforcement in recorded history, following a sustained trend of low numbers of on-duty deaths in recent decades. … Every one of the 41 police officers killed on the job is a tragedy, and every effort should be made to bring that number to zero. Oh, and every one of the at least 1,186 people killed by police in the same period is also a tragedy, and every effort should be made to bring that number to zero.
The number of officers killed on the job was down almost 20 percent from 2014. However, even in 2014, being an active duty police officer was number 15 on the list of dangerous jobs.
For news organizations, Trump is good for business, so expect the cable news flunkies to line up to kiss his ring
And it’s clear Trump is good for business. According to one Fox News producer, the channel’s ratings dip whenever an anti-Trump segment airs. A Fox anchor told me that the message from Roger Ailes’s executives is they need to go easy on Trump. “It’s, ‘Make sure we don’t go after Trump,’” the anchor said. “We’ve thrown in the towel.” Similarly, the New York Post has staked out a pro-Trump position in the marketplace while its rival the Daily News remains one of Trump’s loudest critics. The Post endorsed Trump last month and dubbed him “King Don!” after he won the New York primary. (The outlier among Murdoch’s properties is The Wall Street Journal. “They’re stupid people,” Trump told me back in March).
Case in point: Megyn Kelly is no journalist, but people still pretend she is…
“You are so powerful,” Megyn Kelly, of Fox, said to Donald Trump, with a note of wonder in her voice, as she interviewed him for her special on Tuesday night. They were sitting in a conference room on a high floor, with a view of Central Park behind them, the proper backdrop for an interview characterized by a soft deferral to the grandeur of Trump. Kelly had, in the moments before, remembered his angry response, after she asked a question at the first Republican Presidential debate about his past comments disparaging women. It had caused a “firestorm,” and Trump was the fire. Did he understand the profound effect that he had on people?
And what did Megyn Kelly know? When the special returned to Trump Tower, the Donald let it slip that, in the period when he was loudly claiming to be boycotting her on Fox News, he had, perhaps, peeked at her show. The other big news was Kelly’s unveiling of her new book, “Settle for More”—not a good slogan for the G.O.P. at the moment—which will go on sale after the election and in which, she said, “For the first time, I will speak openly about my year with Donald Trump.” So what did we just watch? “Well, that is it,” Trump tweeted after the broadcast ended. “Well done Megyn—and they all lived happily ever after! Now let us all see how ‘THE MOVEMENT’ does in Oregon tonight!” Trump won the Republican primary in Oregon with about sixty-seven per cent of the vote. Senator Ted Cruz and Governor John Kasich were still on the ballot, but Trump was, effectively, unopposed—just like he now is on Fox.
Adblocking software is a default installation for any browser on any computer I set up, usually using Ghostery. I am frequently amazed at the sheer amount of tracking code a typical publisher uses. Dozens and dozens of third party cookies, sometimes even more.
Browsing the web without ads is actually kind of nice. No popups stealing your screen. No autoplaying video ads making the page load as slowly as if it were being dialed up through America Online circa 1999. And millions of people seem to agree. They’ve installed extensions to their web browsers that delete the ads from most, if not all, of of the sites they visit. One popular ad blocker, AdBlock Plus, claims that it’s been installed on people’s browsers more than 400 million times and that it counts “close to 50 to 60 million active users,” said Ben Williams, communications and operations director at Eyeo, the company that makes AdBlock Plus.
Ad blocking isn’t a new issue. People have been installing these extensions for years. But those people were considered a fringe group. But that group is getting closer to the mainstream as kids who grew up browsing the web on their parents’ computers are getting their own laptops that they can customize all the way.
And advertisers’ target audience du jour — millennials — appear to be more likely to use ad blockers than any other age group. Of the survey respondents who were between the ages of 18 and 29 years old, 41% said they use ad blockers. As further evidence ad blocking isn’t abating, Mr. Williams said AdBlock Plus has averaged 2.3 million downloads a week since 2013.
If the trend continues, the ad-supported model of web publishing will die soon. I’m not sure what will replace it – a subscription model I guess – but web publishers did themselves no favors by making ads increasingly more obnoxious. Autoplay videos are evil, and I cannot wait until Apple allows ad blocking software on iPhones and iPads.
Ad blocking extensions have been possible on Safari for Mac for a long time, but plugin architecture for Safari on iOS is much more limited. With iOS 9, Apple has added a special case of extension for ad blockers. Apps can now include ‘content blocker’ extensions that define resources (like images and scripts) for Safari to not load. For the first time, this architecture makes ad blockers a real possibility for iOS developers to make and iOS customers to install and use.
The inclusion of such a feature at this time is interesting. Apple is also pushing its own news solution in iOS 9 with the News app, which will include ads but not be affected by the content blocking extensions as they only apply to Safari. There is also clearly the potential for Safari ad blockers to hurt Google, which seems to be a common trend with Apple’s announcements recently…
Blocking ad tracking is also parenthetically about user privacy, and Apple is more likely to increase capabilities for its customers to opt out of the massive marketing databases of contemporary corporations like Acxiom, with the exception of inclusion in Apple’s own massive database of course. Apple is not a benevolent grandmother, but at least they are being more open about their marketing and data collection practices than some of their technology company peers.
Apple’s senior vice president of software engineering, Craig Federighi, who was onstage to present new “proactive” artificial intelligence features of the next iPhone operating system, paused before one of the slides to make the company’s devotion to privacy clear.
Yes, he said, the new software will try to anticipate your information needs, based on things like your calendar and location — something that its rival, Google, already does. But, Federighi added, “we do it in a way that does not compromise your privacy. We don’t mine your email, your photos, or your contacts in the cloud to learn things about you. We honestly just don’t wanna know.”
He continued: “All of this is done on [the] device, and it stays on [the] device, under your control.” And Apple says that if it does have to perform a lookup [online] on your behalf, it’s anonymous, it’s not associated with your Apple ID, and it’s not shared with third parties.
In case you missed that point, Federighi immediately repeated: “You are in control.”
“Consumers want a faster web, significantly less tracking by unknown third parties and clean, well-lit media experiences. [Apple’s mobile ad-blocking plan] just accelerates it, and opens up a significant share of the marketplace,” said Jason Kint, CEO of online publisher trade group Digital Content Next. That significant share would significantly cut into publishers’ revenues. Take the biggest digital ad seller — Google — as a proxy. PageFair has estimated that Google, which made $59.1 billion from advertising in 2014, lost $6.6 billion that year because of ad blocking. As Vice’s chief digital officer Mike Germano said at an industry conference in New York earlier this month, “I love my audience, but fuck you, ad blockers — 20% of my revenue is gone.”
As we suspected, having traffic to Spanish news sites drop by 5%-15% is kind of a big deal…
We call it the “Google News bump.” When a story on WIRED.com gets a link on the front page of Google News, traffic skyrockets. Readers click. Ads are served.
But in Spain, at least, the Google News bump is no more. On Tuesday, Google shut down Google News in Spain in response to a law that requires news aggregators to pay a fee for the right to post snippets of stories. Big Spanish publishers pushed for the law, but their math is hard to fathom. Without Google News, they get no bump, nor do they get any fee. Trying to stick it to Google is an understandable impulse, a resentment fed by the company’s monolithic influence over the web. But all the shutdown really shows is how powerless traditional publishers really are.
But where I work, at least, a 5 percent traffic dip wouldn’t exactly be something to celebrate, much less lobby lawmakers to effectively codify. And as GigaOm’s Mathew Ingram says, the damage could be worse. The chief data scientist at Chartbeat, a web service many publishers use to monitor real-time reader traffic, told Ingram that the average falloff in the hours since the Google News shutdown was more like 10 to 15 percent.
and as many people have noted: removing all Google News traffic benefits the larger media companies at the expense of the smaller media companies. Google News links to both: sites you’ve heard of, and sites you haven’t. If you don’t regularly visit the websites of smaller news organizations, you probably won’t.
I wonder how this new development will play out. Will the traffic plummet for Spanish publications? Or will it not matter? And how exactly does Google News move past this trend of European countries1 demanding Google pay for fair use inclusion? Does this relate to blogging Fair Use?
Google Inc. said Wednesday it will shut its Google News service in Spain because a new law will require the company to pay publishers for displaying any portion of their work.
In a blog post, Google said it also will remove Spanish publishers from the service.
The legislation, which takes effect in January, requires Spanish publishers to charge services like Google News for showing excerpts or snippets from their publications, Google said.
“As Google News itself makes no money (we do not show any advertising on the site) this new approach is simply not sustainable,” Richard Gingras, head of Google News, wrote in a blog. He said the service will close Dec. 16.
[Google News is] a service that hundreds of millions of users love and trust, including many here in Spain. It’s free to use and includes everything from the world’s biggest newspapers to small, local publications and bloggers. Publishers can choose whether or not they want their articles to appear in Google News — and the vast majority choose to be included for very good reason. Google News creates real value for these publications by driving people to their websites, which in turn helps generate advertising revenues.
But sadly, as a result of a new Spanish law, we’ll shortly have to close Google News in Spain. Let me explain why. This new legislation requires every Spanish publication to charge services like Google News for showing even the smallest snippet from their publications, whether they want to or not. As Google News itself makes no money (we do not show any advertising on the site) this new approach is simply not sustainable. So it’s with real sadness that on 16 December (before the new law comes into effect in January) we’ll remove Spanish publishers from Google News, and close Google News in Spain.
For centuries publishers were limited in how widely they could distribute the printed page. The Internet changed all that — creating tremendous opportunities but also real challenges for publishers as competition both for readers’ attention and for advertising Euros increased. We’re committed to helping the news industry meet that challenge and look forward to continuing to work with our thousands of partners globally, as well as in Spain, to help them increase their online readership and revenues.
Germany already has some data on how well it works, we’ll soon see if politicians are getting angry phone calls from media websites:
A German law now requires Google to secure the rights to publish any content other than links to articles and headlines. Google refused to pay for those rights, but gave publishers a choice: offer them free or face the removal of snippets and thumbnails from its services like Google News.
German media giant Axel Springer , a Google critic, demanded payment from Google for a time this fall. But Axel granted Google a free license when traffic from Google News and Google’s search engine plunged.
“I imagine the news outlets for which the law was designed will start to miss the traffic that Google sent their way,” said Colin Sebastian, an analyst at R.W. Baird.
I’ve long used Google News as a primary jumping off point to read news sites, for what it’s worth…