Does Google Help or Hurt Traditional Media?

Creativity in Progress imageFew tech companies roll off the tongue as easy as Google these days.

The two giant has earned their place in tech lore, thanks to visionary leaders, simple, but useful products and bold moves, among other factors. But does this behemoth of a company help or hurt traditional media?

No News Here

I suppose newspaper executives would argue yes – in a big way. After all, Google News has aggregated much of their content, and as they might say, stolen potential revenue.

Google executives have countered that search helps enhance newspaper content, and that the company has tried to help newspapers, but hasn’t found the perfect solution just yet.

Book publishers and authors have battled Google over its Books portal in the past, and that fight continues today – centered on eBooks. Much of the fight, like the battle with newspapers, has revolved around copyright issues.

The movie and television industry have also faced Google head on over the content it aggregates for search. To that end, the search giant has yanked movie and television shows off its video portal, YouTube.

And that plays into Google’s quest to better monetize YouTube, with the addition of movie rentals earlier this year. However, will that be enough to quiet down the movie studios?

No.

Always About Money

Because this isn’t about just copyright and content. It’s about money. Google has grown more and more since it went public in 2004.

After all, Google isn’t just a tech company – it’s in the advertising business. That’s how traditional media has always made its money. So there lies the conflict.

And it’s a good conflict.

Google has helped traditional media more than it has harmed it.

In the book, Googled by Ken Auletta, Google co-founder Sergey Brin says that many of the company’s ideas may never see the light of day if they always went through proper channels before innovating. For example, asking newspaper publishers if it’s OK that Google aggregate their content.

But the Real Currency Is?

Such is the price of innovation on the web history’s fastest developing medium of information.

Google will continue to push back on traditional media, effecting its content, the way it tells stories through news, movies, books and more and the way it makes money. That’s a good thing.

Google operates with one currency in mind: information. It has the information of millions of web users via searches, emails, chats and much more.

The products come free, but the cost comes forth in information.

That information leads to products that are more personal and choice-heavy.

Yes, consumers need to be wary of how their information is being used. And traditional media needs to be aware of just how much more personal a user’s experience is with Google products.

A balance here could guide users to a continued improved experience and direct old media to something it has only reacted to, instead of created: innovation.

Image by marganz.

Note: This post is a short assignment for my class in Contemporary Media Issues about Google and the media issues surrounding the company.