Although Mel Silva says it’s not blackmail, how else can her comments be viewed?
It’s an aggressive response from Mountain View which started in January when Google hid some Australian news sites from search results (I bet the media companies saw a drop in online revenue and subscriptions). Amazingly, News Corp’s Group Executive, Corporate Affairs, Policy and Government Relations, Campbell Reid, told the senate hearing: “Their experiment shows how well controlled [Google’s] machine is. One of the massive problems we face … is their entire machine is a black box. How do you negotiate when they hold literally all of the information? They know more about our [online] businesses than we know about them ourselves”.
The code feels like the free lifeline for the media companies when they should be working harder to remain relevant and, for me, Campbell’s comment ratifies that opinion.
From what we understand, Google is only talking about pulling search – not its other products. But so many of their products are integrated with ads, I’m not sure what we would lose. Google has a prior record of pulling out of markets; ones that are or could be far more lucrative than Australia, so we can’t take the threat lightly. Personally, I believe Google pulling out of Australia benefits no one and an agreement will be reached.