Like everyone else, I’m peripherally following the fur flying about Murdoch thinking about whether or not to block Google from searching his news sites. In the background I keep wondering if this isn’t all a misunderstanding. I mean, do a lot of people get their news on Google? That’s a question.
Okay I know I’m not average, so I don’t mean to say my experience is statistically significant. For all I know everyone else is getting their news on Google. But I really don’t think so. Here’s what I think.
I think other sites grabbed most of the flow in news before Google got around to doing news, and such habits are hard to break. I guess that Yahoo is still the leader in online news and CNN and MSN are #2 and #3. After that, there’s a lot of noise. Somewhere down there is Google. In the dust.
People say silly things like Google would be nothing without the NY Times, but it wasn’t until relatively recently that the Times let Google index their news stories. I know this because I had a Long Bet with Martin Nisenholtz that I won more or less by default. Times articles couldn’t show up in the ranks on Google because the Times wouldn’t let them! It was dumb not just cause it meant that Martin lost the bet, but it was dumb because they let Wikipedia become the authority on so many topics that the Times would have done a better job at, imho. And they were throwing away flow, and flow is money.
So I think a lot of this debate is uninformed and generating a bit of heat and not much else. Kind of like a lot of what passes for news these days.