Google barks at fetching a paper

In an in-depth Q&A with the Financial Times, Google’s Eric Schmidt discusses the wilting newspaper business

Google CEO Eric Schmidt

Google CEO Eric Schmidt

In an interview with the Financial Times newspaper this week, Google CEO Eric Schmidt revealed that the company pondered purchasing a newspaper.

Although he did not disclose which particular newspaper during the interview, he said that owning a content producing organisation, as opposed to collating content, would cross the line.

"We’ve actually looked at this," Schmidt told the Financial Times, "and we’re trying to avoid crossing the line between the infrastructure and technology that Google provides and the content that our partners provide."

"There is a line and we’re trying to stay on our side [of] it," Schmidt added.

Schmidt said the Internet search giant was instead working with The Washington Post to improve their online presence for advertising.

Suggestions that not-for-profits be created to house traditional news organisations were dismissed by Schmidt.

“I think they’re clever ideas, but they’re unlikely to happen without some massive, massive set of corporate bankruptcies,” Schmidt said.

When questioned about the Google News model, Schmidt said the company would not share any revenue with online media outlets whose content Google aggregates, arguing that they benefit more from the traffic Google generates to their Web sites, than the advertising revenue Google collects.

“…we’re not monetising it in aggregate, so if we were to transfer money we would be taking money from something unrelated to newspapers and just paying them, which doesn’t seem like a good sustainable model for anybody,” Schmidt said.

To read the full transcript click here.

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