Eric Schmidt, the boss of search engine giant Google, told to a stunned audience at the Newspaper Association of America's (NAA) annual conference in San Diego that they must follow what the customer wants.
Addressing newspapers executives, he told them bluntly that ultimately, newspapers are consumer businesses and that "if you p*ss off enough of them, you will not have any more", he went on to praise those newspapers that had embraced rather than combat the web in the early days.
Schmidt argued that the press industry needs to keep evolving or face extinction. He added that newspapers should move online where they will have five times or 10 times more circulation because there are no distribution costs.
Google and a number of other news aggregators are locked in a fight with a number of newspaper groups over the fact that a news aggregators are stealing their content without substantial monetary compensation.
The likes of Robert Thomson, the editor of the Wall Street Journal, news entity Associated Press and Rupert Murdoch, from News Corporation, have likened news aggregators to parasites (or as the editor of WSJ would say "tech tapeworms in the intestines of the internet").
Google's CEO also said that newspapers could generate revenues either through advertising or through subscription-based services like access to archives or premium content. Google is already in partnership with a number of press organisation including Associated press to distribute and host their contents.
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Some say that the publishers really let Google off the hook too easily. There are a few observations to be made though. Google News, rather than Google search, is the culprit in the story. Google News does not carry any advertising, which means that it does not benefit from getting monetary value from it. Indeed, Google News is a precious ally for smaller publishers like ITProPortal.com
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