Google aims to save journalism, thwart fake news and more importantly hit duopoly partner Facebook.
What do you do when half of a digital advertising duopoly is limping? Punch your rival in the mouth and partner with news organizations and exploit lots of frustration.
Google announced plans to work with news organizations to grow digital revenue and strengthen journalism. The Google plan is to "build a more informed world" and have "shared business interest." Google launched the Google News Initiative to "help journalism thrive in the digital age."
Google has turned from a media company foe to friend in no time. Why? Here are a few reasons:
- The search giant needs to get ahead of that oncoming fake news and election data manipulation train that's about to hit Facebook.
- Publishers are disillusioned with Facebook, which has become less of a traffic driver. Facebook hasn't helped matters by being clumsy and clueless with news publishers looking to offset Google dominance.
- Google doesn't want regulators beating Sundar Pichai over the head when they can tee off on Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg instead. Facebook promises "comprehensive audit" of Cambridge Analytica | Trump-linked data firm Cambridge Analytica harvested data on 50 million Facebook profiles to help target voters
- Consumers want more control of how their data is being used, according to Deloitte.
- The duopoly of Facebook and Google is weakening.
That latter point is the primary takeaway to consider with Google's save journalism initiative. According to eMarketer, Facebook and Google will capture 56.8 percent of U.S. digital ad investment in 2018, down from 58.5 percent in 2017. In 2016, Google and Facebook's share of new ad dollars was 73 percent.
Suddenly, getting news publishers on Google's side may make some sense. Why? eMarketer noted that Amazon and Snapchat are growing at a faster than expected clip.
Google and Facebook realize its harder to distinguish between real news and fake news. These giants also realize that users are starting to question how those companies use and share data. It's a big mess that screams regulation.
In that context, we can just say that Google's bone to news publishers is a move to get ahead of the bad news Facebook is generating.
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