What started as Copyleft years ago has now grown into a huge orchard of free news, blogs and much much more. Some people cashed in on such growth and hence there was a mushrooming of free news sites such as The Huffington Post, and sharing any news was possible through Digg, Del.i.ci.ous, Reddit and other social networking sites. Twitter made its appearance and gone were lengthy discussions. All this was used very well by Google, a company which started out as a search engine to end up what it is today.
A year back when Google introduced Chrome, I remember reading a newspaper article on whether Google was poised to take over the world now that they could have access to almost everyone’s data (or they already did). Wave is here and Google knows where they stand.
Rupert Murdoch doesn’t seem to have taken this too well. Neither would I if I had a multi-billion dollar news corporation which produced stuff that Google gave completely free to internet users all over the world. I don’t and Murdoch does, which is why I’d rather sympathize with Google. The catch here is that newspaper executives have been silently rooting for Murdoch from the sidelines. This is similar to 12th century warlords trying to assess and determine what the king’s move might be.
Murdoch’s logic in attacking Google is a very obvious one. A full frontal assault would leave both parties heaving and gasping for money; also Murdoch would have limited chances of success if it involved copyright law. News Corp has instead gone for the one thing that Google shareholders really prize (apart from the shares, that is) – Google’s reputation. With every other speech or interview, News Corp’s stand on what they’d like to call “exploitation of information”, has grown louder and stronger. None of the terms they’ve used seem to flatter Google, what with theft, philistines, promiscuity, vampires and the final blow – “shady dot.com ad sales folk”.
The first few news reports felt and sounded like bad humour, but Murdoch and News Corp seem to have understood that repetition establishes a view that becomes more and more credible. This is corporate politics with the brutal force of recognition and power.
Google’s reaction? Silence can only last so long. Third party defences from the likes of Ariana Huffington are not going to come to Google’s aid anymore. If News Corp keeps up its tactics, Google will be forced to issue a public statement, which has been Murdoch’s aim from the very beginning.
As the battle continues, Murdoch’s attack on Google has becoming a defining moment for all big media houses. News Corp clearly wants a deal on money and data and envisages a future where search engines and journalism get together distributing royalties and ad revenues on the way. Murdoch also, presumably envisages a future where news organizations can bend the search industry to their way more frequently.
The rhetoric delivered by News Corp has lofty ambitions. But such abuse against a clear global leader comes with its fair share of risks. If the results of this fall short of the intensity with which this has been created, News Corp will find itself in great difficulties.