Despite increasingly frequent reassurances to content creators, Google clearly wants nothing less than to own the content industry — but Google is completely earnest about not wanting to actually own or create any content. Google wants to own the BUSINESS of content.
The big news today is of course Google’s launch of customized search, which allows publishers to create Google searches limited to specific sites and then put the custom search boxes on their own sites. The distinguishing feature of this service is that it comes complete with AdSense.
This is Google’s attempt to secure its ownership of the niche content business, which it already dominates through AdSense, by providing a tool for niche publishers to monetize their topic expertise through search — and allow Google will take its usual piece of the action. If you are a consumer of niche content, Google will be there at every turn with its monetization engine.
Google was also preying on niche content creators (i.e. magazines) at the American Magazine Conference (via MediaPost):
Armstrong emphasized the need for magazines to make better use of the Web, noting that many publishers didn’t know that much of their content is still not accessible by Google’s spiders. Many magazines have big a Web presence, but because much of it is inaccessible to search, their traffic remains low. Here, Armstrong said, “You can use search engines to close the gap between your brand and your traffic.” Armstrong also said Google is working on a certification program for content from established, well-known sources that will help boost its search ranking.
By promoting search as the pathway to magazine content, Google seeks to increase its ability to take a cut of the magazine content business.
What really jumped out at me was that reference to a “certification program” for content that comes from “established, well-known source” — apparently, Google also wants to be the arbiter premium content.
What’s clear is that content creators are no longer in control of the content business. That doesn’t mean content creators can’t make money — it just means that an increasing portion of every dollar they make will go to Google.
From this perspective, Google’s acquisition of YouTube makes perfect sense — YouTube dominates online video content, and Google wanted to make sure they get their share of every video dollar.
If you’re in the content business, you’re in Google’s business.