Will Google pull News from Europe?
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Will Google pull News from Europe?

Here’s the news: internet giant Google is considering pulling its wildly popular news service (creatively named ‘Google News’) from Europe. That’s big – the search engine’s news results remain the world’s biggest and most widely used news aggregator site, and it drives an unbelievable amount of traffic to Google. So why remove it from an entire continent? In similar fashion to some of Google’s other woes, it all comes down to Europe’s regulatory decisions.

Google’s share price has risen by 3% so far this year

graph 23 google

Source: Yahoo Finance

A (controversial) new law that regulators are moving towards in Europe, simply called the European Union’s Copyright Directive, will give publishers the right to demand money from web platforms that show fragments of their articles. That would apply to Google News’s results (Google News is basically Google Search but only curated from a worldwide list of suitable online publications), and it would also apply to other platforms like Facebook. The law should have been finalised this week, but disagreement among the Union’s member states held it up.

According to Jennifer Bernal, Google’s public policy manager for Europe, the Middle East and Africa, the company is seriously considering removing the service from Europe altogether. But, as she adds, the company has “various options” in front of it. And pulling out would, apparently, be done reluctantly. Google, it should be noted, doesn’t make any money from News directly… but the traffic and popularity of the service is still a major driver of its business.

The company’s main complaint in regards to the new legislation is that it would have to choose which publishers to license and which to ignore. And, because bigger publishers tend to publish more, that would probably end up penalising small players in the space disproportionally.

We’ll bring you more as the story develops.

Disclosure

Dominion holds Alphabet, the parent company of Google, in its Global Trends Managed Fund.


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