In more bad news for the newspaper industry, Google is now starting to host its own versions of content from the Associated Press, Agence France-Press and UK and Canadian wire services.
Here’s a screen shot of an AFP story:
Yahoo! and AOL have been doing this for years. Here’s the same story on Yahoo!
Google had been linking off to versions of wire service stories published by other media outlets, driving traffic to those sites.
For readers, this is a good thing. In most cases, news outlets have subtracted value from wire stores: making their own edits (sometimes introducing errors), cluttering stories with lots of irrelevant ads, splitting stories across multiple pages. The versions of wire stories on newspaper sites are sometimes shorter because they were cut to fit the space available in the paper. Readers also have had to deal with various UIs depending on what site they get sent to.
Now readers get complete stories in a consistent format. In typical Google form, the layout is simple. You get the story, any related pictures and links to related stories. The entire contents of the article are one page. Compare the same story about Mexican truck programs on Google News, My San Antonio, ABCNews.com, the Houston Chronicle and the Denver Post. The Google News page is by far the cleanest and loads the fastest.
The move to host wire content is married with better duplicate detection. This dramatically reduces the House of Mirrors effect. Readers won’t see the same wire story 300 times in the results. This makes it easier for readers to find other voices on a topic.
I haven’t seen advertising on these pages yet, but now that Google seems to be licensing the content, it seems inevitable.
- Original stories, from the source (Google News Blog)
- Google News Now Hosting Wire Stories & Promises Better Variety In Results (Search Engine Land)
- Link v. read (Jeff Jarvis)
- Adapting online newspapers to a search/Web 2.0 world (this blog)