Today, the FTC held a hearing on the crisis in the (print) news publishing industry, which gave Rupert Murdoch yet another opportunity to publicly call out Google about its supposedly thieving ways. Google’s response: Hey, we send out 4 billion clicks a month to news sites. If you don’t now what to do with all that traffic, it’s not our fault. (I’m paraphrasing).
But Google also gave a concession to news publishers who have been complaining loudly about the backdoor to subscription-protected sites that is Google News. For instance, you can read WSJ.com stories for free if you search for them on Google News and then click through. News Corp, the owner of the Wall Street Journal, knows this, but allows it because otherwise Google won’t index its site and then it will lose 25 percent of its traffic.