Google Australia has revealed it will ‘experiment’ with new ways of ranking links from traditional media outlets over the coming weeks, as the government continues to finalise the controversial News Media Bargaining Code.
The Australian, reports today that Google will hide articles from major outlets for a small number of its Australian users, as tensions between the tech giant and the media industry continue to simmer. This experiment is expected to be applied to content from Nine and News Corp publications.
“Every year we conduct tens of thousands of experiments in Google Search. We’re currently running a few experiments that will each reach about 1% of Google Search users in Australia to measure the impacts of news businesses and Google Search on each other. In 2018, the value we provided to publishers through referral traffic alone was estimated at $218 million dollars,” a Google spokesperson told B&T.
“As we said last week, we remain committed to getting to a workable Code and look forward to working with the Senate Committee, policymakers, and publishers to achieve an outcome that’s fair for everyone, in the interests of all Australians.”
The experiments will conclude by early February, the spokesperson said.
It is the latest turn in the ongoing saga around the News Media Bargaining Code, which was introduced to parliament late last year.
The tech giant has strongly opposed draft versions of the code and has again taken issue with the final version, labelling it “unworkable” as it stands.
The experiment of removing news content on Google Search for some users is akin to Facebook’s threat around the code, with the social media company vowing to remove news in Australia completely should the legislation be turned into law.
The News Media Bargaining Code is currently before a Senate committee for inquiry.
ACCC boss Rod Sims today told the AFR he expects the code to be finalised by March.
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