Google has confirmed that they did in fact close Google News in Spain and removed all Spanish publishers from Google News worldwide.
Google made the closure announcement earlier this week, citing the so-called “Google Tax” that the government in Spain implemented that would require services such as Google News to pay publishers to include their snippets in Google News. To prevent what happened in Germany it from happening in Spain, they made it so that publishers did not have the option to opt out of this, leaving publishers at the mercy of the publisher’s association in Spain, AEDE.
Google has not only closed Google News, but they were forced to also remove all Spanish publishers from worldwide editions of Google News as well. So effectively, Spanish publishers will no longer receive any traffic at all from Google News anywhere in the world. And there are questions about whether the law could be read that would see all Spanish publishers removed from the regular search index, although it does not seem that Google has made that move.
The AEDE still seems to expect Google to be forced to pay them, despite the closure. They had announced plans to ask the government to force in Google to reopen Google News and to be forced to pay them. It will be interesting to see how publishers react to the news, particularly since the law is written in such a way that all publishers fall under the AEDE which would collect any fees paid and distribute them.
Google’s full statement posted after the closure.
We’re incredibly sad to announce that, due to recent changes in Spanish law, we have removed Spanish publishers from Google News and closed Google News in Spain. We understand that readers like you may be disappointed, too, and we want to share the reasons behind this decision.
Google News is a free service, loved and trusted by hundreds of millions of users around the world and available in more than 70 international editions, covering 35 languages. It includes everything from the world’s biggest newspapers to small, local publications and bloggers. Publishers can choose whether or not they want their articles to appear in Google News — and the vast majority choose to be included for very good reason. Google News creates real value for these publications by driving people to their websites, which in turn helps generate advertising revenues.
But sadly, as a result of a new Spanish law, we had to close Google News in Spain. This 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 was not sustainable.
We remain committed to helping the news industry meet challenges 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.
You can view the entire law here (PDF in Spanish)
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