Google vs. Murdoch: Who’s “Being Evil”?
Josh Cohen is the Senior Business Product Manager at Google News, where he manages global product strategy, marketing, and publisher outreach. He was previously vice president of business development for Reuters Media and director of business development for SmartMoney.com.
Question: What do you see as the major sources of tension between Google News and its critics?
Josh Cohen: Sure. I mean, I think there are a couple of things. One is something that we certainly -- everybody sees it -- there's just been a tremendous amount of upheaval in the news space, and beyond just sort of the news space, in content creation overall. I mean, the Internet has been really just a phenomenal thing. I don't think anybody would argue that the Internet hasn't brought this great opportunity for users to get new information from so many different sources in so many different ways, and really to own that experience and be much more in control of what they read and where they read it from. But that has meant a significant change to the business model. So if you look at a -- in the past, if you had a local newspaper, that was your one source for information. If you -- Buffalo News, for example -- if I wanted to get information about Buffalo, sure, that was my key source. If I wanted information about wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, that was my source. If I wanted to know what was going on in Washington about the debate over -- about health care overhaul -- again, Buffalo News was my source for all that information.
Online, it's so easy to navigate to so many different sources that you no longer have that stranglehold on information. And I think everybody would argue that that's a tremendous thing for the end users, but it's a challenge for the business model. You no longer have that sort of local monopoly. So that's one thing I think that just -- Google sometimes becomes synonymous with the Internet, in good ways and in bad ways, so anything good that happens with the Internet, that's Google. And anything bad that happens because of the Internet, that's Google as well. So I think part of it is just that: I mean, we are associated with some of that disruption. So I think that's part of it. The other is this sense that Google gets value from indexing the content. And in that case, I think everybody at Google would agree 100 percent: there's no doubt that Google receives value from our ability to index high-quality information on the Web, whether it's news or otherwise. If there's not high-quality information on the Web, not much to search for. So we definitely receive value from that, and I don't think that's in dispute.
But I think the part where there sometimes is a disconnect, which is the value that we deliver back to publishers. While we do get value from indexing, it's to help people find that information. So we in turn drive -- again, you know, the traffic that I talked about going off to publishers -- there is significant value that we deliver to publishers, and that's not even getting into the different tools that we have available to help them make a better Web site, things like Google Maps or YouTubes, where they can leverage our technology to make for a better Web site; and obviously the whole part of our business that deals with helping them monetize it, whether it's things like AdSense, contextual advertisements or double-click, which is ad-serving technology. So not even touching those business relationships, there is value that Google receives, but there's also a significant amount that we deliver back to publishers.
Question: Is there any legitimacy to Rupert Murdoch’s argument that Google is stealing from him?
Josh Cohen: I think there are a couple of things. I mean, some of the issues that I was just talking about, just the general challenges of a changing business model. But as I said, I think that we do deliver value back to publishers, but as far as whether it's legal or not, we respect copyright law. And you know, if we -- we show no more than a headline or snippets, sort of what's sort of considered fair use, but it's sort of -- it's not even a legal debate, because there's no -- we don't force any publisher to give us their content. So in the case of a publisher who, you know, decided they wanted to put content on the Web but didn't want Google to crawl it, that's very easy to do. You can do that either by contacting us or simply but putting a bit of code on the page. There's something called robots.txt, which is -- at its most extreme says do not crawl this site at all. And you can direct that to specific search engines; you can say I want Yahoo! to crawl this, but I don't want Google to crawl this.
But there's also a number of different fine-grain controls that publishers have within a broader protocol that's called Robots Exclusion Protocol, that allows you to say I want you to crawl this, but I don't want you to show any images; or I want you to crawl this, but I don't want you to show snippets. That's too much; I only want you to show a headline. So there's a range of controls that publishers have. So you know, I'm probably not the right person to get into the legal debate and the ins and outs of fair use, other than to say that we respect copyright law. But there's -- it doesn't even need to be at that stage, because if publishers don't want us to index their information, and don't feel that we're delivering value to them, they're in complete control about whether or not we're able to index it. They're in complete control about whether or not they want to charge for that information or not.
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Whether or not women think beards are sexy has to do with "moral disgust"
- A new study found that women perceive men with facial hair to be more attractive as well as physically and socially dominant.
- Women tend to associate more masculine faces with physical strength, social assertiveness, and formidability.
- Women who display higher levels of "moral disgust," or feelings of repugnance toward taboo behaviors, are more likely to prefer hairy faces.
Beards and perceptions of masculinity<img type="lazy-image" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yMjU5OTg0MC9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTY0NzkxMjM3N30.cH-GqNwP5GVqvstgJWAhBPn1B_lYpVEAI0I7iax7EQw/img.jpg?width=1245&coordinates=0%2C1900%2C0%2C849&height=700" id="caae6" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="cb0a355a4e8e1899789bc45f3f7aef56" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" />
Photo Credit: Wikimedia<p>The study used 919 American (mostly white) women ages 18-70 who rated 30 pictures of men they were shown with various stages of facial hair growth. The photographs depicted men with faces that had been digitally altered to look more feminine or more masculine, with a beard and without a beard. The women rated the men according to perceived attractiveness for long-term and short-term relationships. The study found that the more facial hair the men had, the higher the men were rated on their attractiveness, particularly for their suitability for a long-term relationship.</p><p>Part of this might be attributed to facial masculinity — i.e. protruding brow ridge, wide cheekbones, thick jawline, and deeply set narrow eyes — which conveys information to a woman about a man's underlying health and formidability. Women tend to associate more masculine faces with physical strength and social assertiveness. It can also indicate a man with a superior immune response. The researchers suggested that their findings favoring bearded men could be due to the fact that facial hair enhances the masculine facial features on a man's face, like creating the illusion of a thicker jaw line. This could communicate direct benefits to women like resources and protection that would enhance survival among mothers and their infants. In other words, while a beard doesn't mean superior genetics in and of itself, it might be a primitive, ornamental way of saying, "Hey girl, I'm a testosterone-fueled lean, mean, pathogen fighting machine." <br></p><p>It could also be that a beard becomes its own destiny. The researchers in this study cite prior research that found that by growing a beard, men felt more masculine and had higher levels of serum testosterone, which was linked to a higher level of social dominance. They also tended to subscribe to more old-school beliefs about gender roles in their relationships with women as compared to men with clean-shaven faces.<span></span><br></p>
What does disgust have to do with beard preference?<p>Obviously, not all women dig beards. The researchers were particularly interested in what traits make a women prefer bearded men over clean-shaven faces. They looked into several factors including a woman's disgust levels on various concepts, her desire to become pregnant, and her exposure to facial hair in her personal life. </p><p>According to the study, women who were not into facial hair were turned-off by potential parasites or other critters they imagined could be in the hair or skin. Women ranking high on this "ectoparasite disgust" scale might have viewed beards as a sign of poor grooming habits. However, women who ranked higher in levels of "pathogen" did find the bearded men to be desirable, possibly because they perceived beards as a signal of good health and immune function. An intriguing discovery in the study was links to morality. Women who displayed higher levels of "moral disgust," or feelings of repugnance toward taboo behaviors, were more likely to prefer hairy faces. The authors opined that this could reflect a link between beardedness, politically conservative outlooks, and traditional views regarding performances of masculinity in heterosexual relationships.</p>
Additional findings<img type="lazy-image" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yMjU5OTg1My9vcmlnaW4uZ2lmIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTYyNDI1NjUyOX0.P9B8WbmJR0q4nfzYZKbuNSA-2SAigVWJgrQE-_Gxlds/img.gif?width=980" id="49143" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="2ed3b1d6f20fc170bf2974646e565e8d" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" />Giphy<p>The correlations that existed between married and single women's rating on the attractiveness of beards were not particularly clear, although the researchers noted that single and married women who wanted children tended to find beards more attractive than the women who didn't want children. They also found that women with bearded husbands found beards to be more attractive, which might indicate that social exposure to beards influences how desirable they are perceived of as being. Or it could be that men with wives who like beards grow beards.</p><p>It's important to note that culture plays a huge role in how attractive women perceive certain male characteristics as being. This study looked at a small, culturally specific group of American women, so no big, universal claims should be made about masculinity, facial hair, and male desirability to women. However, research like this is important in highlighting how human grooming decisions are driven by much more than fashion trends. Sociobiological, economic, and ecological factors all play a part in the way we choose to present ourselves.</p>
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