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Foolish Google

Google have caved in and decided to appease the French groups shaking them down over having the audacity to spider their news.

Google has agreed to create a 60m euro ($82m; £52m) fund to help French media organisations improve their internet operations. It follows two months of negotiations after local news sites had demanded payment for the privilege of letting the search giant display their links. The French government had threatened to tax the revenue Google made from posting ads alongside the results. The US firm had retorted it might stop indexing French papers’ articles.

But refusing the index the stories in question is exactly what Google should have done.  The notion that this appeasement will satisfy these rent seekers is risible.  They have seen Google fold under pressure and they will be back for more.

20 comments to Foolish Google

  • Regional

    Frogistan, who cares?

  • Google’s played this rather well actually.

    Down in the details of the deal is that the fund will be used to aid French newspapers in adding Google ads to their websites. From which the newspapers and Google will then make money (and by far the majority of such money flows to Google).

    This “fund” is therefore to embed Google’s ads in all French online media.

    I’d say they’d played a blinder actually, completely foxed the original complaints.

  • Well Tim if that is how it works out, great, but I do wonder if that will be the end of it.

  • Laird

    I doubt that it will be the end of it either, but we’ll see. I tend to agree with Perry on this.

  • Paul Marks

    Tim – Google seems to be run by foxes.

    I do not mean that as a complement to them.

  • RRS

    Ah! P M would you rather it be run by “hedgehogs?”

  • RRS

    To go along with T W, Google is also creating a “dependency” relationship in which the demise and diminution of the other parties will leave Google with the remainder of any benefits.

  • RRS

    PdeH, Did you ever read Bre’r Rabbit?

  • Laird

    RRS, for shame! Bre’r Rabbit is racist. No moral person would be caught dead reading it. Next you’ll be advocating Little Black Sambo.

  • Paul Marks

    I was thinking of the distinction between an elite of foxes – and an elite of lions.

    However, the hedgehog versus fox works comparison works for me.

    I. Berlin (for all his other faults) was right to imply that the person who keeps to one true thing of fundemental importance, is better (in politics and other things) from someone dashes around for every tactical “networking” advantage.

    No surprise that the vile “Thinking Fast and Slow” comes down on the opposite side of this debate – the author does this by ASSUMING that the thing the hedgehog fundementally believes in is false.

    And, without formally mentioning it, it is clear that the target is a belief in the fundemental belief in freedom.

    By the way – “Thinking Fast and Slow” was the number one book in the bookshops near the university colleges when I had a look around London on Wednesday.

    The young generation are proving “good subjects” for the conditioning process of modern “education”.

  • Paul, the young generation are not buying their books in bookshops – if they are reading books at all.

  • RRS

    P M

    You have (quite properly) sent me back to re-read that piece of Berlin, whom I have always taken for a “pluralist” rather than a “monist.”

  • RRS

    Laird,

    Of course I know the nature of your jest.

    But to show the change of social aspects, I was raised in the “Old South,” and Uncle Remus’s Tales were also read to me by Annie Johnson,a young “woman of color,” who seemed to find them as amusing as I did 84 years ago. Hey, I even had a Li’l Black Sambo doll!

  • Paul Marks

    Alisa – they are when the bookshop is directly outside their college (it was students who were in there).

    And, of course, such works are all over the bookshops in airports (nice captive customers).

    W.S. Smiths in the airports, Waterstones outside (or inside) the universities, and Foyles as an “alternative” (an “alternative” where the leftist books are pushed just as much as the two book chains).

    Amazon is indeed a bit better.

    RRS – yes you may be right, but my memory of the essay is that the “feel” of it is that the Berlin has some sympathy for the hedgehog type (of course as I am so much that type myself – I may be seeing what I want to see).

    The sneering hatred from the author of “Thinking Fast and Slow” feels quite different.

  • Julie near Chicago

    Laird, what’s wrong with Little Black Sambo? ‘Lebenty-leben pancakes actually sounds mighty good to me about now. With plenty of butter and maple syrup. Yum.

  • PeterT

    “Google seems to be run by foxes.”

    No that’s Mozilla your thinking of.

    “thinking fast and slow” – David (“Machinery of Freedom”) Friedman recommends it and that’s enough to justify a purchase in my view. Not bought it yet though!

  • Paul Marks

    PeterT – I was shocked by David Friedman’s position, but I should not have been.

    Good people often do not see something as wicked – unless it is blatent. Because they want to believe the best about other people (especially other “intellectuals”).

    For example Frank Fetter (whom I would argue was the greatest American economists of the early 20th century) was actively involved in Richard Ely’s “academic freedom” campaign.

    I do not think that Frank Fetter ever really understood that the purpose of the “academic freedom” campaign was to drive people like him (Frank Fetter) out of academia, by handing over total power to a de facto guild (union) of academics, with no external influence from the founders of universities (such as Mary Stanford in the case of Stanford University).

    “Academic freedom” – sounds good.

    But it has led to a position where a the only sort of job that someone like Frank Fetter could get in most universities is cleaning the toilets.

  • Ben

    The game in economics is to assume that the actors know better than you, and then ask why they did what they did, rather than call them ignoramuses who don’t know their own business.

    Google obviously feel that they gain from being the news search hub for many people to an extent that is worth paying for – whether they advertise on those pages or not. (Perhaps people drawn to Bing or Yahoo by the desire to do a news search would stay for the general web search.)

    Ergo, you are wrong and the newspapers were right. Sorry to break it to you.

  • Well you do not give any indication to whom your comment is directed so I will assume it is at the original article…

    The game in economics is to assume that the actors know better than you, and then ask why they did what they did, rather than call them ignoramuses who don’t know their own business.

    Who called anyone ‘ignoramuses’? They… Google… and French newspapers…may know their business (or they may not… businesses fail all the time) but I rather wonder how well Google understand French political dynamics.

    Google obviously feel that they gain from being the news search hub for many people to an extent that is worth paying for – whether they advertise on those pages or not. (Perhaps people drawn to Bing or Yahoo by the desire to do a news search would stay for the general web search.)

    So what? They could have cut that deal before anyone threatened them if they thought it was in their best interests rather than simply the least-worst option.

    Ergo, you are wrong and the newspapers were right. Sorry to break it to you.

    One does not logically follow from the other. But I am not at all sorry to break that to you.

    The newspapers are using their political connections in France to rent seek Google and that has worked in that Google has done something they were not going to do before… but my article did not call the French newspapers ‘wrong’, it called Google ‘foolish’ because I very much doubt the French newspapers or (above all) the French government will leave it at that.

    You really didn’t read what I wrote, did you ;)

  • Ben

    Yes, in particular the bit where you said “google should”, which is what I am attacking. If they have folded it is because they are beaten, not because they don’t know the game.