26 September 2006

Google In The Courts

My master, Google, were in the courts again over the indexing of multiple Belgium newspapers. The newspapers in question stated that Google was in breach of their copyright. They demanded that Google remove all their content from Google's sites. I find this crazy. Effectively they don't want to be indexed (or at least any content listed if they are indexed) hence reducing traffic to their site. Google News provides a summary of the indexed site, it's not the full article. Therefore when I'm interested in a subject (or even just see a headline that interests me) I'll click on the link to show more providing the site with traffic it otherwise never would have had.

Google makes a good point in the post that:

Of course, if publishers don’t want their websites to appear in search results (most do) the robots.txt standard (something that webmasters understand) enables them to prevent automatically the indexing of their content.

I have to agree that a mechanism is provided to stop people indexing your site and it is up to your web master to control that. Of course they aren't asking for people to stop indexing their site. They still want the traffic but at the same time they don't want any snippet to show up in the results (I've rarely clicked on a result that has no associate text with it; I use that snippet to give me an idea that it is a page I'm interested in). They can easily have their way, they just aren't prepared to take that step. The fact that the court agrees with them is somewhat worrying as it sets president for this sort of action happening again.

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