Brazil’s top newspapers abandon Google News

O Globo is one of the Brazilian newspapers to have pulled its content from Google News The debate about Google and whether it is a friend or foe is unlikely to resolved anytime soon.

In the UK News International has only recently done a U-turn on its stance to stop articles from its quality national newspapers, The Times and The Sunday Times, featuring in Google’s search listings.

While most of the world media world lives with Google in relative state of frenemy not so in Brazil. Newspapers there have taken the radical step of pulling their content from Google News on en masse.

According to the Knight Center for Journalism Brazilian newspapers representing more than 90% of the country’s media, including such as O Globo and O Estado de Sao Paulo, have abandoned Google News after the search engine refused to compensate them for the rights to their headlines.

The exit was first signalled last year when the National Association of Newspapers in Brazil began recommending its members to opt out of the service.

That recommendation has now been taken up by all of the 154 newspapers that belong to the ANJ after Google refused to budge. It argues, as it always has, that newspaper firms benefit by being listed on Google News by the traffic that gets sent to their websites.

The controversy fueled one of the most intense debates during the recent Inter American Press Association’s 68th General Assembly, which took place from Oct. 12 to 16 in São Paulo.

Despite the arguments on both sides, IAPA’s general assembly came to an end without any new agreements between ANJ and Google. For Brazilian news companies, the number of visits that arrive from Google News has not been enough to justify the use of their headlines without receiving payment.

“Google News benefits commercially from that quality content and is unwilling to discuss a remuneration model for the production of these materials,” said ANJ president Carlos Fernando Lindenberg Neto in an e-mail interview with the Knight Center for Journalism in the Americas.

“We concluded (…) that staying in Google News was not helping us grow our digital audiences. On the contrary, by providing the first few lines of our stories to Internet users, the service reduces the changes that they will look at the entire story in our web sites,” Lindenberg said.