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Murdoch: Google is mortal and together we can kill it

Or at least tame it

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There's good stuff out there - we'd like to think we're one of the exceptions that proves the rule - but outside of businesses that have built a strong niche they're few and far between. Public broadcasters such as the BBC and ABC (two organisations singled out in his interview for leeching off print), would continue to pump out web material. But these are swamped and suffocated by the chaff, all eaten by the Pacman.

Google's Achilles heel, which as I noted here six years ago, is one that's hidden in plain view:

Google's aggressive, but essentially dumb robots can only get so far. We're painfully aware that Google's lack of specificity leaves its robots chomping through thin air, dead pages, or trackbacks, more often than not.

It's the lack of specificity, the indiscriminating nature, that's the weakness of the blind bots. And that means the Google method - chomp, collect, then analyse - is wrong. It's not the the smart way to deal with content in a sophisticated world.

And what Google has got wrong is thinking the web is primarily a medium - which it is - when it's mostly used as a communications tool. The people who were supposed to "get" the web the most, because they had recorded most of it, had it wrong all along.

The question 'What Would Google Do?' is nicely turned around. Google could stop indexing the junk, for a start. As the largest internet advertising broker, Google would remain an important internet player. But its weakness would be apparent to all: it can no longer set the price for content owners, as it wants to. And with the primary revenue stream finite, it may want to start cranking up other revenue streams, such as its Cloud initiative, while getting some sandbags.

So although Murdoch was lambasted as a Luddite who doesn't "get it", it seems he "gets" the medium as well as anyone - it's a Balkanised and fragmented place, and with strong and distinctive brands, this can be turned to his advantage.

Getting to there isn't something News Corp can do on its own. But much as they may fear him, all the commercial rivals share a common purpose - they'd dearly love him to be the battering ram, bashing down a door they could all run through.

May Rupert have another agenda? I don't think so.

The Phantom Tollbooth

One idea touted this week is that large media companies could strike deals with search engines, so that Bing would feature exclusive Associated or News Corp content. The loonier elements on the paranoid fringe naturally sees this as a bid to become an internet gatekeeper. The call has already gone out to regulate search engines so such deals could not be possible.

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