Self-Motivation
David Goggins
Former Navy Seal
Career Development
Bryan Cranston
Actor
Critical Thinking
Liv Boeree
International Poker Champion
Emotional Intelligence
Amaryllis Fox
Former CIA Clandestine Operative
Management
Chris Hadfield
Retired Canadian Astronaut & Author
Learn
from the world's big
thinkers
Start Learning

Google vs. Murdoch: Who’s “Being Evil”?

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.

Or is neither side in the wrong? A Google News exec fields the most common criticisms leveled at his company.

The “new normal” paradox: What COVID-19 has revealed about higher education

Higher education faces challenges that are unlike any other industry. What path will ASU, and universities like ASU, take in a post-COVID world?

Photo: Luis Robayo/AFP via Getty Images
Sponsored by Charles Koch Foundation
  • Everywhere you turn, the idea that coronavirus has brought on a "new normal" is present and true. But for higher education, COVID-19 exposes a long list of pernicious old problems more than it presents new problems.
  • It was widely known, yet ignored, that digital instruction must be embraced. When combined with traditional, in-person teaching, it can enhance student learning outcomes at scale.
  • COVID-19 has forced institutions to understand that far too many higher education outcomes are determined by a student's family income, and in the context of COVID-19 this means that lower-income students, first-generation students and students of color will be disproportionately afflicted.
Keep reading Show less

Why is everyone so selfish? Science explains

The coronavirus pandemic has brought out the perception of selfishness among many.

Credit: Adobe Stock, Olivier Le Moal.
Personal Growth
  • Selfish behavior has been analyzed by philosophers and psychologists for centuries.
  • New research shows people may be wired for altruistic behavior and get more benefits from it.
  • Crisis times tend to increase self-centered acts.
Keep reading Show less

How Hemingway felt about fatherhood

Parenting could be a distraction from what mattered most to him: his writing.

Ernest Hemingway Holding His Son 1927 (Wikimedia Commons)
Culture & Religion

Ernest Hemingway was affectionately called “Papa," but what kind of dad was he?

Keep reading Show less

How DNA revealed the woolly mammoth's fate – and what it teaches us today

Scientists uncovered the secrets of what drove some of the world's last remaining woolly mammoths to extinction.

Ethan Miller/Getty Images
Surprising Science

Every summer, children on the Alaskan island of St Paul cool down in Lake Hill, a crater lake in an extinct volcano – unaware of the mysteries that lie beneath.

Keep reading Show less

The biology of aliens: How much do we know?

Hollywood has created an idea of aliens that doesn't match the science.

Videos
  • Ask someone what they think aliens look like and you'll probably get a description heavily informed by films and pop culture. The existence of life beyond our planet has yet to be confirmed, but there are clues as to the biology of extraterrestrials in science.
  • "Don't give them claws," says biologist E.O. Wilson. "Claws are for carnivores and you've got to be an omnivore to be an E.T. There just isn't enough energy available in the next trophic level down to maintain big populations and stable populations that can evolve civilization."
  • In this compilation, Wilson, theoretical physicist Michio Kaku, Bill Nye, and evolutionary biologist Jonathan B. Losos explain why aliens don't look like us and why Hollywood depictions are mostly inaccurate.
Keep reading Show less
Quantcast