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Google a Content Company?

Kevin Donovan [PersonRank 1]

Tuesday, September 11, 2007
12 years ago6,004 views

So, Jeff Jarvis is a smart guy. His endless reminders that media companies need to adapt to the digital world are refreshing and informative.

In his most recent column (buzzmachine.com/googlewires/), he argues that Google is a content company; however, Googlers have insisted for years that they are a search and monetization firm not a content creator. While they obviously have a vested interest in this image (they don't want to piss off content creators even more than they are already (eg Viacom, Authors' Guild, etc.)), I don't think they are a content creator in the way Jarvis protrays.

His support for this comes from the recent developments in Google News which allows newsmakers to comment on relevant stories and the start of hosting of wire stories from AP, Canadian Press and others.

None of this is content creation. They are merely aggregating content like they do websites for search. The inducement of content creation is not the same as content creation – *no one thinks pen manufacturers are content creators though they allow me to express myself just as comments in Google News do*. Further, providing hosting for wire stories isn't different from the other data-centric exercises of Google.

While they are being entrusted with content, we have done that with GMail for sometime now and never thought they were a different company. New services, same Google.

Roger Browne [PersonRank 10]

12 years ago #

The recently-retired Google Answers service was genuine content creation.

Philipp Lenssen [PersonRank 10]

12 years ago #

More Google-owned content:
- Google Street View San Francisco...
- Some Google Maps reviews (the ones you enter yourself)...
- Sketchup 3D Warehouse

Might be interesting to compile a list! Anyone else has more?

Kevin [PersonRank 0]

12 years ago #

The Google Maps user-submitted reviews and Sketchup 3D Warehouse are not created by Google in the same sense that the NYTimes creates an article or Hollywood a movie. Why is providing a forum for creators the same thing as creation?

As for Street View, that and the satellite images comes close b/c they commission those pictures, but, again, they aren't creating those, only capturing what already exists – like Google Book Search.

Philipp Lenssen [PersonRank 10]

12 years ago #

I think it's not the same as e.g. NYT. We need to differentiate between...

1. showing a fair use snippet of non-owned, crawled content
2. owning user-submitted content
3. owning self-created content

So the NYT would be 3, Google Maps reviews would be 2, but Google Street View San Francisco would be a sort of 3 (though there we might again differentiate between semi-neutral copies of "reality" or editorial decisions....)

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