Google Offers Online News Compromise, Limits Free Access

Google is now offering publishers a way to attract paying subscribers
without having to remove their content from Google News search results, Reuters reports. Google hopes this will quell a controversy that began after
Rupert Murdoch and others accused the online behemoth of profiting from their news content.

Josh Cohen, Google's senior business product manager, had this to say in Google's official blog today:

There are more than 25,000 publishers from around the world in Google News
today. That's because Google News is a great source of readers, sending
publishers about 1 billion clicks every month. Each of those clicks is an
opportunity for publishers, allowing them to show ads, sell subscriptions and
introduce readers to the great content they produce every day.

While we think
this offers a tremendous opportunity for any publisher who wants new readers,
publishers are the ones who create the content and they're in control of it. If
they decide they don't want to be in Google, it's easy to do. Today, we're
making it even easier with a web crawler specifically for Google

Publishers have always had the ability to block Google from
including their content in Google's index. How? With something called Robots
Exclusion Protocol (or REP) - a web-wide standard supported by all major search
engines and any reputable company that crawls the web.

When our crawler arrives
at any site, it checks to see if there's a robots.txt file to make sure we have
permission to crawl the site. With this file, or similar REP directives on
specific pages, publishers can block their entire site, certain sections or
individual pages. They can also give instructions on how they want us to index
their content, such as telling us to exclude images or snippets of text.
Furthermore, they can apply different instructions to different crawlers, giving
access to some while blocking others.

The new Google News web crawler
extends these controls to Google News. If they wanted to, it's always been easy
for publishers to keep their content out of Google News and still remain in
Google Search. They just had to fill out a simple contact
in our Help Center.

Now, with the news-specific crawler, if a publisher
wants to opt out of Google News, they don't even have to contact us - they can
put instructions just for user-agent Googlebot-News in the same robots.txt file
they have today. In addition, once this change is fully in place, it will allow
publishers to do more than just allow/disallow access to Google News. They'll
also be able to apply the full range of REP directives just to Google News. Want
to block images from Google News, but not from Web Search? Go ahead. Want to
include snippets in Google News, but not in Web Search? Feel free. All this will
soon be possible with the same standard protocol that is REP.

Our users
shouldn't notice any difference. Google News will keep helping people discover
the news they're looking for, different perspectives from across the world and
new sources of information they might not otherwise have found.

this means even more control for publishers, the effect of opting out of News is
the same as it's always been. It means that content won't be in Google News or
in the parts of Google that are powered by the News index. For example, if a
publisher opts out of Google News, but stays in Web Search, their content will
still show up as natural web search results, but they won't appear in the block
of news results that sometimes shows up in Web Search, called Universal search,
since those come from the Google News index.

Most people put their
content on the web because they want it to be found, so very few choose to
exclude their material from Google. But we respect publishers' wishes. If
publishers don't want their websites to appear in web search results or in
Google News, we want to give them easy ways to remove it. We're excited about
this change and will start rolling it out today. You can learn more about the
details of this change on our Webmaster
Central blog
. If you see any problems or have any questions, please let us


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