Google has finally shut down its Google News feed in Spain.
In case you missed it Google threatened to shut down its News page and remove links to Spanish publishers from Google News worldwide in response to the Spanish link tax that will take effect in January.
It would seem they have followed through as the News Page is now simply a statement from Google explaining its actions.
The Spanish government passed a new law that would require any organisation linking to pirated content including Google and Yahoo news to pay a fee to the Association of Editors, in what the Spanish government says is an effort to protect and rejuvenate the country’s print media industry.
When this new law comes into effect, Authorities will then be handed the power to fine websites showing this “pirated” content anywhere up to €600,000 ($748,000).
As Google says it makes no money from the News page, they had no choice but to shut this part of their service down. Richard Gingras, head of Google News, blogged “This new legislation requires every Spanish publication to charge services like Google News for showing even the smallest snippet from their publications, whether they want to or not. As Google News itself makes no money (we do not show any advertising on the site) this new approach is simply not sustainable,”
However Gingras hinted that the issue was far from over, continuing with: “For centuries publishers were limited in how widely they could distribute the printed page. The internet changed all that - creating tremendous opportunities but also real challenges for publishers as competition both for readers’ attention and for advertising euros increased.
We’re committed to helping the news industry meet that challenge and look forward to continuing to work with our thousands of partners globally, as well as in Spain, to help them increase their online readership and revenues.”
Recently, Authorities in Germany passed a law very similar to the one in Spain, yet had to reach an agreement with the search engine giant as traffic to their websites plummeted. Despite this, European publishers are still pressing ahead with their calls for action against Google, accusing the search engine of abusing its dominance in search.
European publishers have taken their case to the European Parliament demanding the European Commission “to prevent any abuse in the marketing of interlinked services by operators of search engines” and “to consider proposals with the aim of unbundling search engines from other commercial services”.
This motion to take down News results could be seen as a bargaining tactic by Google, whether they want the Spanish government to renege on their ruling or would simply prefer to pay a lower tax on results remains to be seen, but not since the ‘Right To Be Forgotten’ ruling of this year has Google had to make such drastic changes.
More news as it develops.