Tag Archives: Google

If You Have News, It Will Be Aggregated and/or Curated

The Pew Research Center has come out with a massive new report on the state of media as part of its Project for Excellence in Journalism, and it comes to a number of conclusions about where the industry stands—including the fact that Twitter and Facebook are still driving a fairly small amount of traffic to media outlets (although this segment is growing quickly) and that such tech giants as Google, Yahoo!, and Microsoft control almost 70 percent of online advertising. But one other thing that becomes clear from the Pew report is just how big a role aggregators of all kinds—both human and machine-powered—are playing in news consumption.

Despite the growing evidence to the contrary, many newspaper companies and other traditional media outlets still seem to think the vast majority of their audience comes to them directly and prefers to read their content above all other sources. More than anything else, this is the core philosophy behind the rise of paywalls—which more and more papers are implementing—and also the millions of dollars media companies have poured into developing iPad apps and other walled-garden-style approaches to news delivery. The assumption is that readers will want only the content that comes from that specific outlet.

For many consumers, however, aggregators of various kinds are the way they consume their news now, whether through Web-based portals like Yahoo News or Google News, or through a variety of newer aggregation-based apps and services, such as Flipboard, Pulse, or Zite for the iPad, as well as News.me, Summify (which was recently acquired by Twitter), and Percolate. According to the Pew report, almost 30 percent of consumers get their news from a “news organizing website or app,” compared with the 36 percent who go directly to a media company’s website or app.

In effect, many users seem to be looking to generate their own digital-newspaper-style overview of the world rather than accepting one from a single media outlet, and if the content they are looking for comes from an aggregator like the Huffington Post because the original is behind a paywall, then so be it. The problem for media companies is that this kind of behavior is in direct conflict with most of  the business models they’re relying on for revenue, whether it’s advertising or app- and paywall-based subscription services—which is why such media moguls as News Corp. owner Rupert Murdoch continually accuse Google of “piracy.”

And the problem is actually even bigger than that, since the Huffington Post and Google News are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to aggregation and/or curation. Although Facebook and Twitter may not be huge factors in terms of news consumption at the moment—as my colleague Staci has pointed out at paidContent—with only 9 percent of users saying they get their news from those networks, that figure has grown almost 60 percent in the past year alone and is likely continuing to increase.

To some extent the curation phenomenon is helping mainstream news organizations, because people are sharing links that get clicked on and drive traffic back to news outlets. This is especially the case with Twitter, since the Pew report notes that a larger proportion of users follow official media sources there, while a majority of Facebook users get their news from friends and family members. But just as with aggregation apps and services, the content that any single media company produces just becomes part of the sea of content that is distributed through these networks.

On top of that, Facebook itself is becoming much more of an aggregator of news, through the “social reading” apps it offers from such outlets as the Washington Post and the Guardian. Although both newspapers have bragged about the number of people who have registered for their apps and shared content through them, the reality is that much of the benefit from that activity ultimately goes to Facebook—in terms of the time users spend on the site, the advertising they are exposed to, etc.—rather than the news outlet.

Emily Bell, the former Guardian digital editor who now runs the Tow Center for Digital Journalism at Columbia University, noted in a response to the Pew report on Twitter that social platforms like Facebook are becoming “frenemies” with media companies, since they generate traffic but also suck up much of the benefit in terms of advertising.

http://www.businessweek.com/articles/2012-03-19/if-you-have-news-it-will-be-aggregated-and-or-curated

Microsoft eclipses Yahoo in US search for 1st time

Microsoft Corp. has finally reached a long-sought and expensive goal – its Bing search engine now ranks second behind Google in the Internet’s most lucrative market. Bing and Microsoft’s other websites fielded 2.75 billion search requests in the U.S. during December, catapulting in front of Yahoo Inc. for the first time in the jockeying for runner up to Google Inc., according to statistics released Wednesday by comScore Inc. Bing’s December volume translated into a 15.1 percent share of the U.S. search traffic, comScore said. Yahoo processed 2.65 billion search requests, representing 14.5 percent of the U.S. market. Google remained Internet’s go-to place for information, with 12 billion U.S. requests in December. That works out to a 65.9 percent market share. Other research firms track the Internet search market. But comScore’s numbers matter the most to industry analysts and the companies trying to attract queries so they can make more money from the ads that appear alongside the results. Google’s dominance of online search is the main reason it has established itself as the Internet’s most profitable company. Analysts have expected Microsoft and Yahoo to flip-flop their positions in Internet search since they announced a partnership in July 2009. The 10-year agreement has enabled Yahoo to save money by relying on Microsoft to provide the bulk of its search technology. Microsoft wanted the deal so it would have billions more search requests to analyze each year, giving it a better chance to learn about people’s tendencies and preferences.

http://www.foxnews.com/scitech/2012/01/12/microsoft-eclipses-yahoo-in-us-search-for-1st-time/

Research firm sees Twitter’s ad revenue tripling

Twitter is set to triple its advertising revenue this year and could generate USD 250m in ad revenue in 2012, according to an industry research firm’s projection. The revenue estimates provide one of the first public assessments of the fast-growing Web service’s money-making performance and come a month after Twitter was valued at USD 3.7bn. Twitter, which had 175 million users as of September, is among the new crop of popular Internet social networking services including Facebook, Zynga and LinkedIn. According to the report released on Monday by industry research firm eMarketer, San Francisco-based Twitter generated an estimated USD 45m from ads in 2010 and is expected to bring in USD 150m in ad revenue in 2011. The growth in Twitter’s revenue this year will come from the forthcoming launch of a self-service advertising feature, eMarketer said. The report noted that such a self-service advertising capability, in which marketers can quickly create ads online, has been a major factor behind growth at Google Inc and Facebook

http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSTRE70N5P220110124

Search engine Blekko to rely on the human touch

A small Silicon Valley company with some big name backers will release a test version of a new search engine that the company says has a key ingredient that is missing from Google, the human touch. According to Blekko, the Web has increasingly become saturated with spam-like websites, specially designed to pop up in Google’s search results but whose content is heavier on marketing pitches than substantive information. The remedy, Blekko Chief Executive Rich Skrenta told Reuters, is to narrow searches to groups of websites that people, not computers, have pre-approved as being the best sources of information for particular topics. The approach is decidedly old-school in an industry where computer algorithms developed by engineers at Google and Microsoft Corp have for years been considered the ideal way to find information in the sea of online data. Blekko has raised USD 24m in funding as it has developed its product over the past three years, with angel investors including Marc Andreessen, the creator of the first Web browser, and Ron Conway, who has invested in tech companies including Twitter, Foursquare and even Google. Blekko is launching with a special directory of websites that can provide spam-free results in seven general search categories: health, recipes, song lyrics, hotels, automobiles, colleges and personal finance. Blekko also allows users to create their own personal directories of websites for any topic, so that the search engine only looks for information from sources the user deems relevant or trustworthy

http://uk.reuters.com/article/idUKTRE6A00JP20101101

Google Campaign to Build Up Its Display Ads

Google, the online search ad giant that rarely advertises, has decided it needs to advertise the fact that it is in the online display advertising business. On Wednesday, Google will erect a billboard in the center of Manhattan that will vie for attention with the hordes of other flashy billboards. But it will stand low to the ground and invite passers-by to touch it and watch videos about the display ad business. The billboard is part of Google’s broader ad campaign called Watch This Space, which includes ads in trade magazines and other print and online media, to inform the advertising industry and investors of Google’s online display ads. Google is also playing offense, trying to get a piece of a market that has lots of room to grow even though display ads have been around for more than a decade, first as pop-up and banner ads, and now as ads of different sizes that mix images, text, audio, video and animation

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/09/22/business/media/22adco.html?_r=2&ref=media

Long expected, YouTube wades into live streaming

YouTube is making its long expected foray into live streaming by launching an experimental trial with four new media partners. The new live streaming platform will be previewed in a two-day trial beginning Monday, but is expected to later grow considerably across the Google Inc.-owned website. Four YouTube partners will participate: the celebrity-focused Young Hollywood; the online television outlet Next New Networks; the how-to guide Howcast; and Rocketboom, the Internet culture vlog. For the last two years, YouTube has offered numerous events live, including a U2 concert, cricket matches in India and President Barack Obama’s first State of the Union address. But for all of those events, YouTube relied on third-party technology to enable the live webcasts. YouTube, though, is far from the first company to step into the streaming video space. Startups such as Ustream.tv, Justin.tv and Livestream have already established themselves. But YouTube remains the largest video platform on the Web and is expected to quickly become a considerable force in the rapidly growing live streaming video business. ComScore recently announced the amount of time American audiences spent watching the major live video publishers grew by 648 percent in the last year. The advertising possibilities are also good, since the average live streamed video view is 7 percent longer than the average online video view, according to ComScore.

http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5hs8TF4ohTqb8vLeVNbrJmXmGIiigD9I6SOH80

Google launches Instant streaming search

Google has announced a major change to its fundamental technology, dubbed Instant, which streams real-time search results as the user types. The new system searches automatically as the user types and displays the results underneath the text box, as well as a set of five predictions as to the object of the search. By scrolling down these predictions the search information changes for each one. “This is a fundamental shift to search, the speed and ease with which people can find information has changed,” said Marissa Meyer, Google’s vice president of search products. She said that on average users spent nine seconds typing a search and 15 seconds considering their result. Google Instant will shave seconds off this and the company estimates that the changes will save the billion users it gets a week around eleven hours every second. There is however a blacklist of words that would not be used for Instant searches the company said. Sexual, violent of hate terms would not automatically produce resutls until Send has been pressed. Google Instant will be available for registered users in the US immediately, and the service will be rolled out in the UK, France, Germany, Spain, Italy and Russia next week. The technology will be built directly into the browser by this autumn Meyer said and a mobile version will come in the same time frame

http://www.v3.co.uk/v3/news/2269461/google-launches-instant