MediaFile

Rupert Murdoch, the smartest man in newspapers?

I wrote an analysis on Monday about the possibility that News Corp might take its news search results away from Google and list them on Microsoft’s Bing search engine instead. My conclusion: This one isn’t such a hot idea. Then I read John Gapper’s Financial Times item about how it *could* be a hot idea.

To recap, here’s how it would work.

    Microsoft would pay News Corp for the privilege of being the only search engine to carry results from papers including the New York Post, Wall Street Journal and Times of London. Microsoft thinks it can get more people to use its search engine, drawing them away from Google. News Corp could punish Google, in essence, for making tons of money from the ads it serves alongside news search results. Why, the thinking goes, should Google make a bunch of money off the news that we produce and our newsrooms go starving and our ad sales tank? Other newspaper publishers, if they see Murdoch making it work, might think the same thing and abandon Google en masse.

I and many others wrote that it would be a gamble at best. What if people don’t care that much about news? If the 70 percent of the search market that uses Google discovers  the news is absent, will they switch search engines? Scientists of misanthropy like me say it’s unlikely. If they don’t find it, they won’t seek it.

Gapper at the FT has another way of looking at it:

In effect, (Murdoch) would be swapping his revenue stream from online advertising with a payment from Microsoft for drawing visitors to Bing. That suggests one of two things: either, as a lot of digital evangelists have suggested, he is getting old and does not “get” the internet, or he has looked at the figures and decided that Google traffic is not worth very much. Personally, I think the latter is more plausible. …

Mr Murdoch appears to have decided he will not lose very much by ditching Google traffic and even a fairly small payment from Microsoft would compensate. He is attempting to get distributors to pay for content in the way that US cable operators pay cable networks for programming. …  If the revenue from search traffic is low, why not swap it for something else?

In other words: You, Mr. or Ms. Newspaper Publisher, hate Google because you’re in a co-dependent relationship. You need Google, but Google hurts you too, so you want to escape from Google, but you can’t… But think about it this way: How much worse can it be? You’re shedding hundreds, if not thousands of jobs, and you call 25 percent ad revenue declines an improvement over how they were a few months ago. What’s NOT to lose? And if someone’s paying you more than you’re making now?

Google Chrome OS coming next week…maybe

It’s been four months since Google dropped a bombshell with its announcement that it is getting into the PC operating system game, in a direct challenge to Microsoft and Apple.

Now the world may get the first glimpse of Chrome OS, the PC operating system as envisioned by the folks in Mountain View, California.

According to a report in TechCrunch citing “a reliable source,” a version of the Chrome operating system will be available for public download within a week.

News Corp throws down the Google gauntlet

The war of words between the news media industry and Google makes for a great spectacle, and this week did not disappoint.

According to a report in the Silicon Alley Insider blog, Associated Press CEO Tom Curley is meeting with Google on Friday to press for the creation of a “news registry.” Here’s SAI on the AP’s move:

It hopes such a registry would propel its content to a higher rank in general search than the blogs that the news agency accuses of lifting its content.

Not the Droid you’re looking for?

After a few weeks of mysterious adverts promising a better alternative to iPhone, Motorola’s $200 Droid phone finally hit the shelves in Verizon wireless stores on Friday. Unsurprisingly, the launch failed to attract anything like the frenzy of an iPhone launch, which had people camping out for days at its peak.

Still, all the advertising, and the positive reviews from bloggers and gadget gurus including David Pogue and Walt Mossberg, did help to lure some customers to Verizon stores.

Tech website Cnet’s Marguerite Reardon said that she found about 100 enthusiasts lining up for Verizon’s special midnight opening in New York under what could hardly be described as balmy weather conditions. This morning, in a follow up story, her headline read “Slow start for the Motorola Droid?”.

Google: Don’t Fear the Cloud

Google doesn’t want you to be afraid of the cloud.

The company announced a new feature on Thursday that lets people view all the personal information they’ve entered into Google’s sundry Web-based products over the years.

The information in Google’s new Dashboard covers everything from your personal account information for email and other Google services, to your viewing history on YouTube and the photos you’ve uploaded to Picasa. It’s information that was always accessible in the past, but Google is now making it viewable in one, all-inclusive snapshot.

Privacy advocates have long warned that Google is accumulating too much information about people through its broad menu of Web-based services and not providing enough insight into how the information is being used.

Yahoo blinds analysts with science

Three years is a long time to go without having an analyst day, and it seems Yahoo decided to make up for lost time with a marathon seven-plus-hour briefing to Wall Street’s number-crunchers on Wednesday.

Perhaps having gotten a little rusty from non-practice, Yahoo dispensed with some of the customs of the analyst day ritual. Members of the press were barred from the event, and forced to watch the proceedings over a Webcast, with all the attendant technical difficulties and indignities.

Yahoo’s plug for analysts was simple enough: Yahoo got boring and slow-footed over the years, but the company still commands a massive online audience that’s extremely valuable to advertisers.

Google’s Brin clears the air (sort of) on Twitter

Before this week’s dueling Google and Microsoft search licensing deals with Twitter, a recurring rumor in Silicon Valley had Google trying to buy Twitter outright.

So when Google co-founder Sergey Brin made a surprise appearance at the Web 2.0 conference in San Francisco on Thursday, the stage was set to finally put the record straight.

Showing that ten years in the media spotlight have not been wasted on him however, Brin displayed a deft command of language to duck the question.

Aardvark’s Internet search: No web pages required

Microsoft may be the only company with the wherewithal to challenge Google’s Internet search dominance head on, but a number of firms are trying to outflank Google with services that handle aspects of search not covered by Google’s index of Web pages.

Aardvark – a firm whose cofounders include two ex-Googlers – is pushing something it calls “social search.”

Instead of looking at Web pages to find answers to search queries, Aardvark’s service taps a person’s network of social contacts. Ask Aardvark for anything from restaurant recommendations to home improvement tips, and the service will relay the question to Facebook and Twitter friends who have identified themselves as “experts” on various topics.

Twitter and Bing: A cold September

For two of the Web’s newest sensations, September was not a good month.

The robust growth that Twitter and Microsoft’s Bing search engine enjoyed in recent months appeared to come to an abrupt halt last month.

Twitter, the microblogging service cherished by everyone from Shaq to Al Gore, saw its growth stall in September — at least in terms of U.S. visitors to its Web site.

The number of unique visitors to Twitter’s site in the U.S. reached 20.89 million in September – virtually flat compared to the 20.83 million visitors the month before, according to the latest comScore data.

YouTube: “We’re still kings of the world!”

YouTube, the video site, is celebrating the third anniversary since it was bought by Google with news that it now serves more than a billion views a day to users around the world.

In a blog by YouTube CEO and co-founder Chad Hurley, he reminisces about how he and co-founder/former CTO Steve Chen made a fun video declaring themselves the “burger kings of media”. How sweet.

But on the serious side of the media equation Hurley has some important points about the fast changing world of online video (You could also call it the ‘why we won’ manifesto).