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Google is indeed a media company!

Miguel Helft/The New York Times has figured out that Google is indeed a media competitor, but apparently doesn't think other media have connected the dots -- given how they framed their lead business article today: "Is Google a Media Company?"

While its obvious that Helft/NYT get the joke that Google is most certainly a media company by the prominence, graphic, and headline of the story, they also did their journalistic duty in presenting both sides of the question, including allowing Google a lot of space to continue its charade that Google is not a media company.

Let's have some fun with Google's "who? little old us? a media company? you must be kidding..." --defense in the New York Times article.

  • "Google has always said it will never compromise the objectivity of its search results."
    • The thoughts that immediately came to my mind after reading that sentence were:
      • "a sucker is born every minute" and
      • "if you repeat anything enough, people will come to believe it." 
    • Google's standard line is spin. Don't take my word for it, listen to Google's co-founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin in their own words in "Appendix A: Advertising and Mixed Motives" in their very own Stanford doctoral dissertation:
      • "The goals of the advertising business model do not always correspond to providing quality search to users."
      • "...we expect that advertising funded search engines will be inherently biased towards the advertisers and away from the needs of the consumers."
    • If there is an inherent financial bias in the advertising model toward advertisers over users, why wouldn't there logically be an inherent bias for favoring Google-owned content over competitors' content?
      • Otherwise, what is the business purpose of Google investing billions of dollars to own its own content platforms like YouTube, Blogger, Knol, Google News, Google Finance, Google Maps, Google Earth, etc.?
  • "There is little evidence that Knol has recieved favorable treatment."
    • That's because Google is a total black box, with no transparency, accountability or auditability.
    • Since Google is near legendary in its public demands for everyone else in the world to be "open" and "transparent" with all of their information..., the fact that Google does not even attempt to follow the principle that it demands of others, strongly suggests Google has a lot to hide.
      • At a minimum, the stark dichotomy between Google's 'open' words and 'closed' deeds, does not inspire trust.
  • "Google has long insisted that it has no plans to own or create content and that it is a friend, not a foe, of media companies." Google's spokesperson said: "Our vision remains to be the best conduit that we can be, connecting people between whatever their search is and the answer they are looking for." "... for that reason, we are not interested in owning or creating content."
    • This is a case of where one needs to hear "the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth" in order to really understand what's going on.
    • Google is a the corporate leader of the information commons and Copyleft movements that believe that all content on the net should be commonly owned and that big media companies have too much control over content production and culture.
      • So while it may be true that Google does not seek to "own" content in a traditional sense, Google is most certainly a competitive media platform to traditional content much like open source software competes with Microsoft.
      • Don't forget, that several different content industries have sued Google for property theft of their content, Viacom, MPAA, authors, publishers, newspapers, wire services, etc.
      • Don't forget, Google CEO Eric Schmidt is Chairman of the New America Foundation, the leading think tank pushing the information commons agenda. 
      • Don't forget, Google is closely aligned with Stanford law professor Lawrence Lessig's push for creative commons or Copyleft, a movement which believes that big media companies have too many property rights, and which is pushing hard to undermine the concept of content ownership on the Internet. 
      • Don't forget, Google is very closely aligned philosophically with FreePress, the organization that runs  
  • Google's Spokesperson: "Google does not own copyrights to the Knol content, and the site will not carry the Google logo."  
    • More Google misdirection. As explained before, Google is philosophically hostile to copyright ownership.
    • Moreover, Google's business model is to make money off of advertising for all content on its platforms. Google's claim to not own content -- is a distinction without a difference.
    • Furthermore, the fact that Google intends to not use the Google logo on the Knol publishing platform is another glaring example of Google not being open or transparent about Google's ownership stake or its conflicts of interest.

Bottom line: Kudos to the New York Times for writing about the elephant in the room.

The traditional media have been in big time denial that Google is their single most formidable competitor going forward.

  • Google "owns" the largest and most targetable content audience ever assembled. 

For those in the media who choose to remain in denial that Google is a media company, please read my posts on Google's online publishing platform -- Knol:

  • Google Knol: The World's Editor in Chief -- and Omni Publisher? Can you say Dis-intermediation?    and
  • Google Knols Best? or should we say serfing for Google -- yes, serfing with an 'e'

The big question is how much longer will the traditional media lionize their biggest competitor, when that media competitor is poised to eat them for lunch?