News Corp has rattled its saber in Google’s direction for months, as chairman Rupert Murdoch accused the company of “stealing stories” by posting links and short article excerpts on its search engine. Now, he appears ready to strike, by pulling his company’s news articles from Google and putting them on Microsoft search engines instead, in return for payment. A little piece of code in each article would make articles from News Corp publications such as The Wall Street Journal, New York Post and several international titles visible only to search engines that pay. According to the Financial Times (subscription required), Google’s rival Microsoft intends to do exactly that.
In the short term, this could be disastrous to News Corp’s publications. Google doesn’t need the news — or, to be more precise, it doesn’t need any specific news source. If bloggers have taught the world anything, it’s that one journalist’s facts can become the basis of another journalist’s story. (Case in point: This article is a follow-up to the Financial Times article and includes similar information, albeit with another layer of analysis.) If the Wall Street Journal becomes invisible to Google, people who go there to find the news will simply click on articles from other publications that cover the same story.
Well, that’s one way to charge for online news – by forcing search engines to pay you for your links.