Happy Birthday: Google Turns 12 and Plans to Save Journalism

September 27, 2010 § 1 Comment

Google turns 12.

Today, Google turns 12 years old.

In addition to being the world’s leading search engine (everywhere except China where it’s second to Baidu), Google has come to shape the very way Internet users navigate and utilize the web with a wide array of useful and, more often than not, free products.

Google is number two when it comes to China. Users there prefer Baidu, which was created by two Chinese nationals.

In conjunction with its birthday, Google unleashed Google Instant, a live search function that’s more cool than shocking in terms of changing the way users search online (it didn’t). And Google is becoming a force to be reckoned with outside the confines of the Web, competing on the phone market with its highly popular Android operating system for smartphones, as well as the newly launched Google Voice, which is set to compete with Skype as well as traditional landlines.

Google’s web shadow is monstrous, yes, but what exactly does it have to do with journalism? Well, just about everything.

For starters there’s Google News, the popular news aggregator that had that pesky run-in with the Associated Press, and Google’s ongoing partnership with China, which brought up a censorship debate over the country’s use of a search-limited Google.

China's relationship with Google hinges on being able to search limit internet users.

So it’s no secret that Google plays a large role in the dissemination and access of information on the Web, which in turn plays a part in the general dissemination of news. And more recently, the ‘killing’ of traditional news as it shifts from print and television to the web…but perhaps we’ve been looking at it all wrong.

Back in June, James Fallows of the Atlantic wrote a piece entitled “How To Save the News,” providing readers with an inside look at Google’s attempt to save journalism by coming up with an alternate business model.

Google might be 'killing' the news, so maybe it can 'save' it too?

Among Google’s suggestions for the drowning industry? Cutting newsprint, bundling news online, rebuilding display ads, designing a paywall, and basically transforming the way people digest news by linking directly to youtube videos and breaking up text.

All in all, it’s an interesting take on the biz from a group that’s poised to kill it.

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