Brad Hurlock

Web Design & Marketing Sales for Addison Technologies.

The Future of Google: The Australian News Precedent

Brad Hurlock

Web Design & Marketing Sales for Addison Technologies.
2/8/2021

The election is over. Where do you go for the results? Probably not down the road to pick up a newspaper.

It's more likely that you'll grab your cell phone or laptop and quickly Google, "election results" or "Did so-and-so win?" Then, you'll take your pick from the resulting search engine results page.

So what's going on in Australia that seems to be pitting the future of Google against the Australian...government? Today we're exploring how the Australian Government's news media bargaining code policy could affect the future of Google in the country.

Australia's Draft News Code

It's no secret that print media is on the decline. Total newspaper revenue in Australia is expected to decline by 16% since 2019 as digital subscriptions offset print losses by very little.

The Australian Government's news media bargaining code is trying to fix this. They are demanding that large tech companies, including Facebook and Google, pay royalties to news outlets.

Australia's push for this draft news code comes down to an argument of business ethics. The government is saying that local and first-source journalists deserve to be paid appropriately for the news they gather. Especially since this news is then broadcast to billions without royalties by giants including Google.

The Future of Google in Australia

But what about Google? Don't they deserve to be paid for the work they do and the popularity they've achieved? Business ethics are a grey-area business. What is right and wrong depends on who you ask.

In Google's case, the company has threatened to pull its search engine access completely from the country of Australia, calling them "unworkable." The Google search engine also argues that forcing their company to pay for the right to show news links goes against the values of having a free internet.

Do Press Royalties make Google in Australia Unprofitable?

Unfortunately, we won't know if the code would make Google search no longer profitable in Australia, as the cost of royalties to be forwarded to press outlets isn't set in stone.

Constant updates to Google's search engine algorithm, while often shared with the public, are made at the discretion of Google employees. This can be seen as a large advantage over local journalists and news outlets.

Smaller press outlets simply don't have the manpower Google news does in reach. However, with large manpower comes large costs to Google as well.

As for the future of Google and Facebook in Australia, the world waits to see what happens between the company and the country. The effects could set a precedent for the rest of the world.

The Future of Digital News and Tech Conglomerates

As years pass and the COVID-19 pandemic settles in, technology is becoming more and more of a staple in everyday life. With it comes a new way to consume news and media with ease.

This threatens traditional journalism, and yet online news relies on local journalism, to begin with. The future of the digital news and tech conglomerates in Australia could very well set a precedent for other countries around the world to follow.

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