The Value of News Content to Google is Way More Than You Think

Dr. Courtney C. Radsch is Director of the Center for Journalism and Liberty and a fellow at the UCLA Institute for Technology, Law & Policy. She serves on the board of Tech Policy Press. Google logo at the Googleplex, Mountain View, California. Shutterstock What is the value of news on social media, search, and other platforms that freely aggregate headlines, snippets and even photos so that most people never even feel the need to click through to read a whole story?  This question is at the heart of recent efforts around the world to level the playing field between technology platforms and news organizations in order to make Big Tech firms pay for the news they use. But whereas tech companies like Google and Meta have sought to narrow the discussion to focus on clickthrough rates and the value of the traffic they provide to publishers, this approach disregards the ways that journalism improves the platform itself for all users, even if they don’t click through on a headline. Now, a new study finds that the value of news is far higher than policymakers or publishers think it is, at least on Google Search, which accounts for the majority of Google’s $280 billion annual revenue. The study, conducted by FehrAdvice & Partners AG on behalf of the SWISS MEDIA publishers’ association with oversight by leading academics, assessed the value of journalistic content on the Google search engine in Switzerland and its impact on user behavior and satisfaction, concluding that the…The Value of News Content to Google is Way More Than You Think