What’s Happening with Google in Australia - Will Google Pull the Plug from the Australian Market?
Australia's suggested news media bargaining code has rubbed Google up the wrong way since it first came to light. Now the search engine and advertising giant is pushing to pull one of its major products, Google Search, from the Australian market completely if the code becomes instated as national law.
Should we be worried?
Managing director of Google Australia, Melanie Silva, notified the Australian Senate that the code extends uncertainties to the company's operations and could introduce a criterion, the Sydney Morning Herald reports. The objective of the media bargaining code is to check the actions of Google and other digital platforms, including Facebook, to hand over financial compensation to media publishers for their content.
The code also demands that Google and Facebook submit details of their online ad processes to a competition watchdog, and provide media publishers 14 days notice about any change in algorithms that could affect them. This is not only about Google — Facebook's managing director in Australia, Will Easton, added a similar statement last year. He explained that the social media platform would also remove published articles if Australia implements the news media bargaining code.
Google search engines presently keep almost 94.5% of the search engine share in Australia and 19 million citizens handle it to discover information online. Mel Silva has claimed that Google is engaged in bringing about a practical News Media Bargaining Code, but considers the prevailing code is “untenable” for Google and the digital economy, ABC News reports.
This code was developed following a report from the ACCC which found that Google and Facebook had a biased power advantage. Therefore, the present model could not be competed against by news publishers who are striving to make revenue.
Mike Woosley, COO at data solutions company Lotame, presumes that the matter is being handled as a sovereignty problem by the Australian Government. However, the result of this power trial could sooner or later be spectacularly unpopular among Australian communities if the search engine is removed. As such, an adjustment might be crucial.
Can Google Afford to Lose Australia?
The threat appears to be quite legitimate, according to insiders who have communicated with the media. Yet viewers might be thinking why Google strikes as being so comfortable with the possibility that it could lose the Australian market. It could be the case that the country has a mere 25 million citizens, and it’s not the first time they have done it. As a proportion of Google's global user base, that’s just a blip.
If Google does quit from Australia, this would express a sharp message to other markets that if they demand to try levying fees of their own, it can easily pull out from that region as well. That said, Google's been far more agreeable to make concessions in France. Recently they reached an agreement with a body of French publishers over compensation for their content reuse.
The ABC News reported that some within the Australian Senate are worried that Google's leaving would rattle the use of the internet in Australia. But media houses question that the company's business model should not take preference over the local news, no matter how threatening its warnings are.