Google News In Beta To Avoid Ad Lawsuits?

Nice article spotted via Dave Winer,
Google News: Beta Not Make Money
from Wired. The article theorizes that Google has kept the "beta" moniker on Google News for so long because it’s afraid that removing it
— and adding ads — would cause it to be subject to copyright lawsuits.

Maybe. But the same argument about lifting headlines and lead paragraphs is already applicable to the long-standing Google web search service. No one I know of has
seriously sued Google over that.

The reason, of course, is that people want to be listed in Google’s web search — to the degree that they get upset over lost business if there’s any major algorithm
change, as happened big time last December (see my What Happened To My Site On Google? article).

Given that Google News drives traffic to many publisher web sites (some of which like the New York Times earn off Google’s contextual ads program), biting the traffic hand
that feeds them seems unlikely to me.

In fact, the New York Times makes another good example, given that the publisher has specifically
worked
with Google to be accessible in Google News despite its password-protection on some stories.

Still, the two key points remain. Isn’t well past time for Google News to come out of beta and when will ads finally appear? I’ll let you know what I hear.

By the way, I see hardly any ads at Yahoo News — a banner here and there and no sponsored listings that I can find. In addition, a keyword search at Yahoo News such as for
movies or world series
doesn’t bring up any sponsored listings, in contrast to the case with regular web searching.

It suggests that if Google has some reason not to monetize Google News, the same reasons may also be happening with Yahoo News — which in terms of keyword-driven searches,
is as automated as Google. For more on that, see: Postscript On Google News & Bias.

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