Google made the announcement on their German Google Product Blog.
At issue is German News requirements that Google and other search engines pay a fee associated with showing snippets from news sources, including German news sites bild.de, bunte.de and hoerzu.de, something Google has refused to do. While the news publishers have tools to prevent their sites from appearing in the results, such as using robots.txt, many have not done so, leaving Google to make the change to how they display those results.
Other German search engines have already gone a step further by removing those news sites completely, however Google has a huge dominance in Germany – 93% of the search market, so the impact of the other search engines would not have been felt much, if at all.
Google also notes that many German news sites make significant money through Google as well, even if Google isn’t directly paying them for displaying their snippets and thumbnails.
But Google maintains that it works hard to help news publishers generate an audience and revenue online, with over half a billion clicks for German news publishers each month. In addition, Google’s advertising partnerships have generated over €1 billion (US$1.3 billion) in revenue for German publishers over the last three years, Justus said.
“It’s why many German news outlets — from Sueddeutsche to FAZ and Die Zeit to Spiegel and 5,000 more — choose to include their content in Google Search and Google News and also why thousands of German publishers choose to work with Google as an advertising partner,” Justus said.
It will be interesting to see what the reaction is to this change. Obviously results without snippets and thumbnails will be clicked far less frequently, and while German sites won’t see their content – even small portions of it – republished in Google News, they will also very likely lose significant traffic from Google News, reducing German news publisher’s page views and revenue from that previous traffic.
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