Google and online news: symbiosis or parasitism?

Google and online news: symbiosis or parasitism?

Google and online news

At a hearing on the health of the world of online information, Microsoft expressed an extremely harsh - but duly argued - point of view about Google's excessive intrusiveness on the world of the Web. It did so through the voice of President Brad Smith, at the antitrust commission, underlining how the issues dealt with are clearly important for the health of information and, consequently, for the solidity of democracy in the United States.

Microsoft: Google and information

Smith began his speech with a lengthy analysis of what information is facing and the challenges that digitization presents. But he finally reached the role of Facebook and Google (new online information gateways), finally focusing on the latter. Unlike Facebook, in fact, Google permeates the sector with a multitude of services and offers, coming to have an unparalleled influence on the way news is found and enjoyed. Microsoft's opinion, in short, is that the problem lies not so much in the numbers faced by Mountain View, as in the multiplicity of channels through which Google influences the flows of surfers, publishers and news.

According to Microsoft, this Google's widespread presence throughout the supply chain effectively prevents publishers from directly selling the spaces, restricting the possibilities of monetization and thus compressing investment opportunities. What Google describes as a symbiosis, Microsoft describes it as a parasitic action: "follow the money" to understand which side is the reason.

While it's important to recognize that referral traffic has value, monetizing this traffic has become increasingly complex for publishers because most of the profits are squeezed by Google. Google has effectively transformed itself into the "first page" for news, possessing the relationship with readers and relegating the contents to simple commodities on its properties.

Microsoft analysis is therefore in-depth: not sees a real illegal action in this by Google, but at the same time describes the presence of the search engine as an element that takes away resources from the sector, becoming the primary cause of its difficulties.

What to do, then ? Microsoft first recommends that publishers continue to innovate, because journalism must first of all rewrite the forms in which it operates in society. It is impossible to complain against Google if first of all there is no innovative drive capable of reinterpreting journalism (and this is also a valid lesson for the sector in Italy). However, tech companies will have to do their part, supporting this evolution without hindering the experiments that the publishing world will attempt. What happened in Australia is according to Microsoft the signal that things are rapidly changing: when the hypothesis of "pay per link" is excluded at the legislative level (a fixed point on which one cannot clearly compromise), then the fact to ask for a contribution for the benefit of the publishing industry becomes something legitimate and that must be carried out with transparent negotiations and clear terms.

Microsoft does not use half words in demanding greater balance in the world of online research, remembering how its own Bing has serious difficulties in entering where Google leaves no room for maneuver. Which, between the lines, is a hand extended to publishers: if only Bing had more opportunities, it would create more competition that would benefit the recriminations of those from Google who would like better conditions for the content offered for indexing. In short, a question of market rebalancing.

Source: Microsoft

Google Is Scrapping Cookies This Year, And Other Small Business Tech News

No, not these cookies!


Here are five things in technology that happened this past week and how they affect your business. Did you miss them?

1 — Google plans to scrap third-party cookies by 2022.

Google announced this past week that it plans to stop the use of tracking cookies on Chrome by next year and— instead— will replace cookies with a profiling system. The change is said to be more privacy friendly. Instead of targeting and tracking users individually, Google will group users based on similarities in interests which— according to Google— will give more privacy to users. The new approach is said to be nearly as effective as the individualized advertisement targeting that third-party cookies allowed. (Source: The Next Web)

Why this is important for your business:

By now we’re all familiar with cookies, the little apps that are downloaded on our devices and which track all of our activities online. We can opt for not downloading them, but most people don’t bother. Cookies are critical for advertisers to reach customers and now Google is going to take more control over the information that advertisers can leverage. Will this change your advertising spend? Probably not as the company will likely have even more data at its disposal for better targeting. The writers at the Next Web warn that “ostensibly a move to boost individual privacy, Chrome’s new system ultimately looks set to benefit Google, handing the company yet another advantage over its beleaguered AdTech competitors.” Will our privacy be further compromised? Well, what do you think?

2 —Recruiting startup SeekOut raised $65M to take on LinkedIn and other talent acquisition companies.

SeekOut— a Seattle-based startup— recently raised $65 million in an effort to develop and grow its recruiting software as it works to take on LinkedIn and similar recruiting companies. The company’s software— known as “Talent 360” — is a ramped-up version of LinkedIn and is able to take information about potential candidates from GitHub and LinkedIn, as well as pull information from public data domains such as patents and research papers. The software also has the ability draw conclusions based on data such as whether a candidate already has a security clearance or not and includes diversity filters that are built in. (Source: GeekWire)

Why this is important for your business:

SeekOut looks like a great application that businesses should consider as we recover from the pandemic recession and get back to hiring. Finding good staff in 2021 will be a top priority and I expect to see many more tools like this one available to assist employers.

3 —Small business owners adopted new software in 2020 and increased tech budgets in 2021.

According to recently released data by Software Advice and SCORE, small business owners shared that new software that was brought on in 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic helped increase company productivity by 47% and increased their sales by 45%. The data also revealed 42% of business owners shared that their software helped reduce costs and improve customer engagement by 45%. According to the same data, 45% of business owners also plan to up their investment in technology this year. (Source: Yahoo Finance)

Why this is important for your business:

Gee, the cloud really works. That’s what I kept telling my clients years ago. But it took a pandemic to finally get them to act. Now we’re all benefitting.

4 — Experts are bracing for a wave of hacks tied to Microsoft email vulnerabilities.

Cybersecurity and White House experts are preparing for an influx of attacks related to the software vulnerabilities that appeared in Microsoft this past week. Experts also fear that additional flaws were found and used by apparent spies in China to infiltrate networks all over the internet. The hacking attacks used tools that allowed cybercriminals to break into email servers and have access to inboxes and user information without the need to send attachments or malicious emails. Although victims of these attacks have appeared around the globe, the majority of the attacks occurred in the U.S. (Source: Thomas Reuters Foundation News)

Why this is important for your business:

If you’re company uses Outlook and Exchange you could be vulnerable. Keep on alert and take a look at Microsoft’s latest information on this issue here.

5—This flying taxi startup is 2 years out.    

Taxi Startup Volocopter recently raised approximately $241M in funding and is sharing that it is about 2 years away from starting air taxi operations. The startup has continued to build out the company in hopes that the taxis will be able to be utilized in cities and with plans to have electric air taxis ready to go for the Olympics in 2024. Currently, Volocopter has flown taxis in Singapore, Dubai, Stuggart, and Helsinki, with the goal to get services moving in Asia, Europe, and the United States. (Source: Tech Crunch)

Why this is important for your business:

Considering how unsafe I feel in a taxi on the ground, it will likely be a long time before I venture into a taxi that travels by air. But I’m sure that won’t stop many from taking advantage of what will likely be a common service in the years to come.

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