Google Says No To Newspapers, Yes To Online News


Google chief executive Eric Schmidt has said while his company is not interested in buying physical newspapers it could put its mark on online news sites

Google has introduced several refinements to Google Suggest, allowing users to embark on faster and more granular searches for information, as the search engine giant continues to solidify its online lead. .

Google will roll out new features to Google Suggest “soon,” and these new features will speed up the time it takes the online community to search, according to the company.

In its previous iteration, Google Suggest only displayed its suggestions based on the original search input. The company has expanded that original mission to encompass new areas, part of strengthening its search capabilities as it solidifies its lead in the online search market.

“Now, when you make a search from a results page, we provide suggestions that relate to the current results page,” Jonathan Effrat, David Kadouch and Matt Kulick, product managers for Google, wrote in a 20 May corporate blog posting. “If your previous search was for roller coasters, when you begin a new query the first few suggestions are still related to roller coasters.”

Other features include Personalised Suggestions, in which relevant past searches could potentially be displayed for the user typing in a query, if they’ve signed into their Google account and have Web history enabled. This would theoretically allow searches to be taken up again at a later time, should the user “need to step away in the middle of a search task.”

There is also a new Navigational Suggestions feature: “If your first keystrokes indicate that you may be looking to navigate directly to a specific site, we’ll list it and send you straight there if you click on it.”

And if the first keystrokes indicate that the user is seeking some sort of product or service, Google will now include sponsored links in its suggestions.

Even as Google strengthens its online components, CEO Eric Schmidt denied in an interview with the Financial Times that the company was in the market to expand offline into newspaper acquisitions.

“We’ve actually looked at this,” Schmidt told the Financial Times, “and we’re trying to avoid crossing the line between the infrastructure and technology that Google provides and the content that our partners provide.”

“There is a line,” Schmidt added, “and we’re trying to stay on our side [of] it.”

Google’s side of the line, however, also includes potentially developing products that serve online newspaper readers—and more effectively feed them those all-important online ads.

“With a number of newspapers, and The Washington Post being an example, we are very interested in trying to develop online news versions that somehow address the immediate needs of people and for which advertising works better,” Schmidt said. “It seems to me that the newspaper that I read online should remember what I read. It should allow me to go deeper into the stories. It’s that kind of a discussion that we’re having.”

Schmidt bemoaned the current layoffs infecting the newspaper industry, but he seemed to have little sympathy for both print advertising and radio, or at least Google’s place in those traditional media stalwarts. Regarding the company’s pullback from advertising-related products in the radio and print arenas, Schmidt said:

“We measure our businesses very, very carefully, and in both the print and the radio businesses we could not seem to invent or get enough of a signal back to make the network or value really spin—that’s one way to describe it.

“But because of the unique structure of radio where it’s a broadcast to a relatively unidentifiable radio, there’s not very much information of what the radio is doing, and similarly for print ads, we could not get that signal.”