Google threatens search engine shutdown in Australia
Google has threatened to exclude Australia from its search engine coverage if the local parliament passes a bill that would make the Big Tech major pay for news content.
CNN’s Michelle Toh reported:
Google says it will shut down its search engine in Australia if a controversial bill designed to benefit the news media becomes law.
At a Senate hearing in Canberra on Friday, Google (GOOGL) Australia Managing Director Mel Silva said the draft legislation “remains unworkable,” and would be “breaking” the way millions of users searched for content online.
Mike Cherney from the Wall Street Journal wrote:
The warning escalates the long-running battle pitting the Alphabet Inc. GOOG 0.23% unit and Facebook Inc. FB 2.02% against the Australian government, whose efforts to compel tech companies to pay publishers is being widely watched globally and could offer a model for other countries. Last year, Facebook said it would restrict Australian users from sharing news articles on its platforms if the proposal became law.
Sean Hollister from the Verge noted:
Australia’s Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC), which drafted the law, seemed to suggest in August that this shouldn’t affect Google’s search business: “Google will not be required to charge Australians for the use of its free services such as Google Search and YouTube, unless it chooses to do so.” Clearly, Google disagrees.
As Google explains in Silva’s full statement and an accompanying blog post, it would rather pay publishers specifically for its Google News products. (It already announced a program to pay publishers in Australia, Germany and Brazil back in June.)