Google has announced that it is considering withdrawing its search engine from Australia, following a dispute with the country’s government. The bill states that Google must share the royalties with news organizations since Australian users find articles through the search engine.
Australia could say goodbye to news in Google search
Google Australia chief executive Mel Silva says the laws are “unworkable” and the company will be pushed to stop making Google search available in the country. Lawmakers accused Google of “blackmail”, and senators went even further, saying that if Australia was successful, “it would go around the world.”
The government has argued that since people use Google (and Facebook) to read news, technology platforms should pay a “fair” price for journalism. One in eight Google searches in Australia is news-related (i.e. 12.5%), and the Australian print market has seen a 75% drop in ad revenue over the past 15 last years.
In addition, 81% of all money spent on digital advertising in the news industry goes to Google and Facebook, the BBC reported. “Many outlets” in Australia were forced to close, while Google generated $ 4 billion in revenue in Australia while paying just $ 45 million (just over 1.1%) in taxes .
Google has already confirmed that it has performed A / B testing with 1% of its Australian users. The experiment blocked Australian news sites from the search engine, but the results were not announced. The American company also cited its Google News platform as proof that it supports journalism.
The BBC quoted Sir Tim Berners-Lee, the inventor of the World Wide Web, who said Australia’s plan would render the Web “unusable in the world” just a day after Google agreed to pay for organs of French press for snippets of news according to local copyright laws.