Google hosts content from four news services

Published: Saturday, September 1, 2007 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Friday, August 31, 2007 at 11:24 p.m.

SAN FRANCISCO - Internet search leader Google Inc. on Friday began hosting material produced by The Associated Press and three other news services on its own Web site instead of only sending readers to other destinations.

The change affects hundreds of stories and photographs distributed each day by the AP, Agence France-Presse, The Press Association in the United Kingdom and The Canadian Press. It could diminish Internet traffic to newspaper and broadcast companies' Web sites where those stories and photos are also found - a development that could reduce those companies' revenue from online advertising.

Google negotiated licensing deals with the AP and French news agency during the past two years after the services raised concerns about whether the search engine had been infringing on their copyrights. The company also reached licensing agreements with The Press Association and The Canadian Press during the same period.

The new approach won't change the look of Google News or affect the way the section handles material produced by other media. Google also said it isn't altering its formula for finding news, so the material from the AP and other services won't be elevated in the pecking order of its search results.

Although Google already had bought the right to display content produced by all four services affected by the change, the search engine's news section had continued to link to the sites of other Web publishers to read the stories and look at the photographs. For example, a Google News user who clicked on an AP story about developments in Iraq would be steered to one of the hundreds of Web sites that also have the right to post the same article.

That helped drive more traffic to the Web sites of newspapers and broadcasters who pay annual fees to help finance the AP, a 161-year-old cooperative owned by news organizations.

Now, Google visitors interested in reading an AP story will remain on Google's Web site unless they click on a link that enables them to read the same story on other sites. Google doesn't have any immediate plans to run ads alongside the news stories or photographs hosted on its site, but company officials aren't ruling out the possibility in the future.

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