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In a keynote address to the PricewaterhouseCoopers Entertainment and Media Outlook event Tuesday, Dow Jones CEO Les Hinton compared Google to a vampire, sucking the blood out of the newspaper industry, according to Crain's New York Business.
â€śThere is a charitable view of the history of Google,â€ť said Mr. Hinton, who is also publisher of The Wall Street Journal. â€ś[It] didnâ€™t actually begin life in a cave as a digital vampire per se. The charitable view of Google is that the news business itself fed Googleâ€™s taste for this kind of blood.â€ť
That era of "feeding itself" to Google and other news aggregators may be coming to an end. News Corp. chief Rupert Murdoch last month told investors that more of his company's Web sites would be following The Wall Street Journal's lead and erecting pay walls. On the same earnings call, Murdoch expressed interest in an ebook reader to challenge Amazon's Kindle.
For its part, Google recognizes that without content to back it up, its popular news aggregator wouldn't be anything. Google relies on â€śthe production of very, very high-quality content. If the people who are producing that are getting laid off, itâ€™s really a tragedy for both. So we need the high-quality content,â€ť CEO Eric Schmidt said in a May Financial Times interview.
So where does Google get that "high-quality content" if news sites cease allowing Google to scrape them for stories? One solution: Wikipedia. The search giant made headlines this month when it began including links to the collaborative encyclopedia on the Google News homepage.Â Though some decried the move, citing the perception that Wikipedia is unreliable because anyone can edit it, Nieman Journalism Lab writer Zachary Seward and others argued that its utility is unmatched on the web.
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