Seen these Google queries inline, on search results pages without having to click through to a publisher’s page? I’m sure you have if you’re a frequent Googler but I wonder how the publishers of these answers feel? You know, the ones that actually do the work of providing the answers? Given the attached example, how many searchers would have clicked through to the top result and given Macworld.co.uk some ad revenue as a result had Google not lifted the content and made it unnecessary to support the publisher?
I think this is a major issue. How is the balance between convenience and sustainability created? This is a broad question that can be applied to a lot of tech disruption but this is a great example. To me, this seems like a breach of Google’s original “Do no Evil” motto. In theory, if this makes it harder for digital publishers to monetize their journalism this also makes it hard for Google to provide quality search results because no one will be able to afford to produce it for them.
Generalizing, our current convenience here may mean a long term breakdown in this amazing search and retrieval system we’ve grown accustomed to.
It used to take people days to find the answers to a query. They had to go to the library and bumble around for a while until they found what they needed. Or make a bunch of phone calls to experts. Given this perspective, I think I am okay with clicking on a link to find my answer if it supports the publisher and allows for the proper feeding of this system I value.
Perhaps I am missing something here. Maybe publishers are charging for API access/database calls like Amazon and Google do for their cloud computing services. I DOUBT it though.