Friday, February 16, 2007

Google News in problems with European sites (3)

As the dust around Belgian Google News is settling, I was eager to see what Google would with the news services. Yes Google started two news services in Belgium. It could have been three, as Belgium has three official languages: Flemish, French and German. But as German is only spoken around the Belgian German border, Google set up two news services, one in Flemish and one in French.

Did Google stop those services after the court sentence? No it did not. It is still running the news services by borrowing articles from newspapers published in neighbouring countries and from publications which did object to be published in Google News service. (I use publishing rather than linking, given the caching of articles). This new situation can lead to some hilarious situations.

The Google News Belgie is the Flemish language service. Flemish is a language related to the Dutch language. In fact is like US and UK English, be it the Flemish stick more to the original language than the Dutch, who use a lot of anglicisms. So, it is logical that Google News borrows articles from the Dutch newspapers and publish them with the articles of publications, which did not object to Google News. This leads to comic situations. Like today, when there is news about a prince belonging to the Belgian court. An advisor to the prince has been sentenced in court. Google news presents this item using Dutch newspaper articles plus a few articles of Belgian publications, who do not object to Google News. The Google News services are still alive and filled with Dutch newspaper articles and a couple of Belgian magazine articles.

The same trick has been applied on the Google News Belgique, the French language service. Google now borrows heavily of French newspaper publications such as le Monde and l’Express and uses a couple of articles from Belgian magazines.

Google News is still going strong in Belgium, but of course the input of quality newspaper articles has been removed. It will be interesting to see whether the amounts of visits to the services will go down.

There is another question, which I throw up and have been unable to research yet. I suspect that some Belgian publishers play it both ways: they run with the newspapers to be excluded from Google News, but do not object to their magazines to be grazed.

It is clear that Google will not stop the Google News services yet in Belgian nor in the rest of the European continent. I wonder what the answer will be of the European publishers. As usual they will have to fight Google country by country, if they want to fight the case principally.

Blog Posting Number: 667

Tags: newspaper, , , , ,

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