The man behind the Google News page - criticized by some news publishers for offering their paid content for free - thinks Google is simply helping them monetize their news content.
"We certainly see the value, and we think most of the publishers do too," Josh Cohen said at a PaidContent 2010 event last week, according to Media Post News.
Cohen explained that the aggregator only provides links to news sites, allowing them to earn more dollars or charge visitors.
In the past, Google's First-Click Free strategy allowed users to access news content that was behind a paywall through Google's news portal, prompting criticism from some newspaper publishers that Google was making their paid-for content available for free. Clever users were able to Google search the names of articles behind the paywall and read them without subscribing.
Cohen says that publishers that want the Google-generated traffic may look for ways to have links to their sites appear more prominently. But Google News uses a sophisticated algorithm that ranks stories which looks for the most "original content," said Cohen. This detail, he claims, supplies a certain editorial integrity.
He explained that Google does not make money from the news itself either, adding that they benefit if users switch from a news search to a Google search and click on sponsored links. Basically, Google benefits from the traffic that Google News generates.
This has put some newspaper publishers in an uncomfortable position - should they take the leap to remove their content from Google News and risk losing readers? Or should they allow Google News to index their content for free and lose potential revenue?
It is a hard call for publishers, but Rupert Murdoch - one of those who lead the charge against Google News - has not only threatened to remove all NewsCorp newspapers' websites from Google, but has also promised to build a paywall around most of his news websites soon.
Google gave newspapers a break last December by modifying its First-Click free rule, allowing five free articles to be shown free of charge and then showing a subscription or registration screen.
Media Post reports that The New York Times will be using the five free clicks model once it begins operating from behind a paywall soon, according to its head of digital operations, Martin Nisenholtz.
Source: Media Post