wednesday, 21 november of 2018


Google threat to close Google News in the EU over ´link tax´ plan

Google will do to Google News in the EU what it did to Google News in Spain in 2014, company warns

Google could close down its Google News service in the European Union over European Parliament plans to impose a ´link tax´ on the service.

The closure would be reminiscent of a move that Google made in 2014 when the Spanish government introduced a similar regulation. Google pulled out of the country and closed its Spanish language news service - with Spanish newspapers suffereing from a sharp drop in traffic as a result.

"We would not like to see that happen in Europe," Richard Gingras, Google´s vice president of news told The Guardian. "Right now what we want to do is work with stakeholders."

The trouble, according to Gingras, is that Google News doesn´t directly make any money for Google, although the user data it generates no doubt comes in handy.

However, imposing a link tax means that it wouldn´t be worth the company´s time and trouble to continue providing the service.

"There´s no advertising in Google News," he said. "It is not a revenue-generating product to Google. We think it´s valuable as a service to society. We are proud to have it as part of the stable of properties that people have."

In a statement, Google said that it was responding to various different proposals under the EU´s forthcoming Copyright Directive.

"As Richard Gingras explained in his interview with The Guardian, there are several versions of the European copyright directive that are being discussed, and it´s too early to speculate about how the final version of the directive would impact our products.

"We welcome the chance to work with policymakers and the industry to find a solution that benefits journalists and publishers - big and small, old and new."

For now, the lobbying efforts continue. Gingras concedes that "it´s not desirable to shut down services" (RIP Google Buzz, Wave and Plus), but the option remains on the table if the EU is unmoved by Google´s.

(Published by Compuing, November 20, 2018)

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