Google's gatekeeper to collect toll for dying news orgs
NewsPass allows a peek over the firewall
Google is planning to introduce a billing and payment system for news content producers by the end of the year, according to a report in Italian newspaper La Repubblica. From the description, this new caper is some way short of a micropayment system, being more like an Oyster Card for news, and other content such as video and images.
The report suggests that the system, called NewsPass, will "incorporate the functions of a universal passkey and of a unique web identity" and adds that Google has agreed to share the subscriber information with the content producers. That's a deal-breaker, since no rational publisher is going to cede this to a third party: they need to know who the readers are. The revenue split is also said to favour the content producers, but that will be another bone of contention.
A common payment pool is really something the content industry should have introduced a decade ago. There's a precedent in the airlines setting up shared reservations systems such as Sabre and Galileo, and the mobile manufacturers setting up Symbian. Instead, the newspapers veered between two disastrous extremes: one of ignoring online interaction completely (or giving it only token attention), and the other of going batshit crazy for Web2.0rhea, which you can think of as the suicide strategy. Neither extreme has served them well.
It's worth remembering the potential threat to Google of a healthy market for content. As we have suggested several times, sweeping condemnations of Murdoch's Paywall by rivals are deeply hypocritical. They want him to fail, but they want it to succeed even more.
If all the commercial content producers were to join Murdoch behind a paywall, then Google would be left indexing publicly-funded operations like the BBC and pure play web operations like us. And a billion tweets and blogs - which aren't really worth anything. The value of that index would be severely diminished - Google may as well index static.
That's why it really, really needs to be the gatekeeper. ®
Hat-tip to Kit for the translation.
I depends on how many people use Google
to search for news, surely? I tend to just go to half a dozen or so sites for news and I don't need Google to find them. I'm gussing it's the same for a lot of other people as well.
"unique web identity" == way to spy on people
@"The report suggests that the system, called NewsPass, will "incorporate the functions of a universal passkey and of a unique web identity""
Wonderful, so Google create a "unique web identity" so Google can then track every news article that person reads on multiple news websites. Plus working out the subject matter of each article is becoming increasingly easy to do (especially on tagged news articles). So how long before Google can then workout for example political views to build up a very detailed profile of that person associated with their payment details.
Plus how long before Google attempt to expand their "unique web identity" to other websites.
Its another hidden way to make Google central to spying on people again. :(
So no way in hell will I use this. As far as I'm concerned every attempt to block me reading news, will simply make me go onto other news. For example there was a page I liked on the Times that I looked at maybe once or twice per month and to my disappointment a few days ago I found I could no longer read it. So I simply found at least half a dozen other news sites and blogs and picked the best ones from these and I found a load more info that wasn't even on the Times. So I couldn't be happier because its actually helped me to learn more by blocking me from their biased Murdoch news mono culture! :)
Plus the Internet routes around damage and so any pay walls acts like damage where people simply go past it. There is so much to read on the Internet as it is, that I don't have time to read it all, so its easier to take the route of least resistance and pay walls are too much trouble. Plus there are many sources of news that were not easy to find 20 years ago that are easy to access directly now. Like countless blogs highlighting company press releases and science papers etc.. so less need for Murdoch news and its not as if any Murdoch news has any remaining journalistic integrity. Everything he touches cannot be trusted to be the whole truth.
So Google's latest spying plans and Murdoch news network can both go to hell. I'm sick of both of them. :)
(Escape Icon meaning in this case, escape from Google and Murdoch! :)
Your "straw man" argument
"If all the commercial content producers were to join Murdoch behind a paywall,..."
That's a mighty big "if," for two reasons:
1) In the real world, some content producers would see an opportunity in staying outside the paywall, where they'd have less competition for the larger Web audience after the Murdochs of the world had retreated to their gated community.
2) Your hypothetical scenario smacks of collusion. Would "all the commercial content producers" seek antitrust immunity from the USA, the EU, and other jurisdictions before joining together in a paywall scheme?