Google threatens to withdraw search engine from Australia

Google threatens to withdraw search engine from Australia

1/22/2021 6:03:00 AM

Google threatens to withdraw search engine from Australia

The tech giant says it will remove its main search function from Australia if it passes a new law.

Google says the new law will lead to it disabling its search tool for AustraliansGoogle has threatened to remove its search engine from Australia over the nation's attempt to make the tech giant share royalties with news publishers.Australia is introducing a landmark law to make Google, Facebook and potentially other tech companies pay media outlets for their news content.

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But the US tech giants have fought back, arguing the laws are onerous and would damage local access to services.Australian PM Scott Morrison said lawmakers would not yield to "threats".The proposed news code would tie Google and Facebook to mediated negotiations with publishers over the value of news content, if no agreement could be reached first.

Google Australia managing director Mel Silva told a Senate hearing on Friday that the laws were "unworkable"."If this version of the code were to become law, it would give us no real choice but to stop making Google Search available in Australia," she said.

Google accused of misinformation in Australia rowMr Morrison said his government remained committed to progressing the laws through parliament this year. At present they have broad political support."Let me be clear: Australia makes our rules for things you can do in Australia. That's done in our parliament," he told reporters on Friday.

"And people who want to work with that, you're very welcome. But we don't respond to threats."Other lawmakers on Friday described Google's ultimatum as "blackmail" and "big corporations bullying democracy".Why is Australia pushing this law?

Google Search is the dominant search engine in Australia and has been described by the government as a near-essential utility with little market competition.The government has argued that because the tech platforms gain customers from people who want to read the news, the tech giants should pay newsrooms a "fair" amount for their journalism.

In addition, it has argued that the financial support is needed for the embattled news industry because a strong media is vital to democracy.Australian print media has seen a 75% decline in advertising revenue since 2005, according to the government. Many Australian news outlets have shut down or cut jobs in recent times.

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Google's threat to remove its primary product is its most severe yet, amid a debate that is being closely watched by other captionWATCH: Who are the 'big four' and just how much power do they have?Earlier this week, US trade representatives urged Australia to drop the laws which they said attempted regulation "to the clear detriment of two US firms".

What does Google argue?Ms Silva said the laws would set "an untenable precedent for our businesses and the digital economy" if the company had to pay for link and search results.This was not compatible with the free-flowing share of information online or "how the internet works", she argued.

image copyrightimage captionGoogle has run ads in its browsers in Australia advocating its case"We do not see a way, with the financial and operational risks, that we could continue to offer a service in Australia," she said.Last week, Google confirmed it was blocking Australian news sites from its search results for about 1% of local users. It said it was an experiment to test the value of Australian news services.

Facebook last year also threatened to stop Australian users from sharing news stories on the platform if the law went ahead.The social media giant repeated that position on Friday, with executive Simon Milner telling the Senate hearing it was "a potential worse-case consequence".

He said Facebook derived almost no commercial benefit from having news content on its platform.Both Google and Facebook have also argued that news organisations already get the benefit of the platforms driving readers towards their websites.This is a highly unusual threat.

Google dominates the search engine market with a nearly 90% market share. Almost all its revenue is from ads.For Google to threaten to pull out of an entire country suggests the company is worried.Australia is nowhere near its biggest market. But Google execs are fearful about the precedent these new laws could have.

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Google has had a very profitable pandemic so far, whilst many local newspapers have struggled. That doesn't look good, and Australian politicians aren't the first, and won't be the last, to point that out.Google says it wants to help fund original, local journalism.

But clearly it believes that what is being proposed in Australia could fundamentally hurt its business model if replicated elsewhere. Read more: BBC News (UK) »

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Trouble29670920 Don’t threaten them with a good time! Time to switch to ecosia . they pay taxes, don't track you and plant trees. and yet they have agreed to pay French news agencies for the same thing? I think this raises some pretty hard questions don't you? methinks this is on par with their poor corporate citizen history of 'doing evil' sadly

It would be very interesting to see what fills the gap if google pulls 'Good media is essential for a fair democracy.'. Wow way to dig your own grave BBC. You just hit the nail on the head. That's the problem. Media isn't good. It's their fault the fucking US Capitol and democrisy was nearly over run. Google SHOULD abandon you.

not a peep while trump held their lead Does that mean we will get less Murdoch muck? r4today Brexit Other search engines are available. Lucky Australia First they came for Trump then...................................... Without Google how will people search for things? Oh yes, one of the many other search engines or better still, a VPN.

Google is just to big. It's time for change. I don't use google search, DuckDuckGo is just as good and they don't track you. Rightly or wrongly, I’m starting to see that these tech giants are manipulating the way we think and live, their got far too much power, or on the flip side of it, we use them and are addicted of using these social media type companies

what a disgrace, google behaving like a child. What? no other options than to pull the plug.. Will news outlets be paying google/facebook for stories from their digital platform when used in news reports. A front to prop up failing Murdoch's news media. Takes money from public broadcaster to give to fox media so they can charge u for sports that use to be free 2 air tv.

Big tech need to be reigned in. Their fk u attitude will lead to more countries imposing restrictions on them. Google is an influential monopoly that needs to follow national rules not make their own. Go for it there are plenty of other search engines available. Hold strong Aus 💪 🇦🇺 TOBIAS! What would macgyver do? What would elonmusk say? Use DuckDuckGo !

Yaaaay. You mean to say that Google finally will NOT be biasing the results of my searches See if anyone cares. Monopoly is the menace of free enterprise Get after Australia! Ban google. Others will follow That's what they've played in China. Now they want to play it again. lol Pretty funny topic. Maybe in US citizens' thought, Australia is not a friend but a servant or slave

Private company etc... But then Australian Government makes a valid point. To think that media newsrooms source out the stories, which in turn are the content for which people log onto Google... 🤔 I see a few more countries following suit very soon. NO! This is not how the internet works! Search engines provide traffic for these news outlets. YOU the reader would have to type the URL directly into the seach bar to access the outlets websites, without an SE like Google providing results for you!

They can move to Baidu then😀 Social media company has grown too big..Big bully They have a very valid point actually. News needs to be able to be trusted for the sake of democracy. The biggest problem liberal democracy has faced in recent years has been down to the citizen's within liberal democracies never really being exposed to genuine propaganda.

This brinkmanship cannot possibly work for Google. It's like saying 'give in to my demands or I will throw a tantrum'. They do know there are alternative search engines, right? Upside down.... boy... you turn me... Why don't they just charge subscribers like the Washington Post does? Or other print media? I know that the LA times and others Ask me to subscribe after I view a certain number of articles for free each month. If I don't I can't read the article that I want.

They should leave on principle now. Wandering how Australia keeping Google out or how Google is going to quit? Bye bye Google Well done Australia. Block Google Australia! Use DuckDuckGo Use Ecosia instead..just as good while also contributing to saving environment and countering climate change. Something Australia seriously needs to address

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