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Schmidt Crosses Enemy Lines In 'Journal' Op-Ed

Google chairman and CEO Eric Schmidt has an op-ed in today's Wall Street Journal, which -- in case you've been hibernating under a rock -- is owned by News Corp. head Rupert Murdoch, who professes to hate Google, and has sworn to soon deprive it of the ability to index The Journal's content.

In the column -- which Around The Net was able to access without a Journal subscription -- Schmidt writes, "With dwindling revenue and diminished resources, frustrated newspaper executives are looking for someone to blame. Much of their anger is currently directed at Google, whom many executives view as getting all the benefit from the business relationship without giving much in return. The facts, I believe, suggest otherwise."

Arguing that Google is a great source of promotion, Schmidt says the search engine sends online news publishers a "billion clicks a month" from Google News, and "more than three billion extra visits" from our other services, such as Web Search and iGoogle. "That is 100,000 opportunities a minute to win loyal readers and generate revenue -- for free."

According to The Register, Schmidt is effectively saying: "Google is giving you all this free opportunity, Rupert, so if you can't make money out of it you must be some kind of klutz, right?"

"In terms of copyright, another bone of contention, we only show a headline and a couple of lines from each story," Schmidt writes. "If readers want to read on they have to click through to the newspaper's Web site. (The exception are stories we host through a licensing agreement with news services.) And if they wish, publishers can remove their content from our search index, or from Google News."

The claim that Google is making big profits on the backs of newspapers also misrepresents the reality, according to Schmidt. "In search, we make our money primarily from advertisements for products," he explains. "A typical news search -- for Afghanistan, say -- may generate few if any ads ... The revenue generated from the ads shown alongside news search queries is a tiny fraction of our search revenue."

"It's understandable to look to find someone else to blame," Schmidt adds. "But as Rupert Murdoch has said, it is complacency caused by past monopolies, not technology, that has been the real threat to the news industry."

Schmidt's "language toward the recent critics is some of the tersest yet, showing how Google has had to come out fighting, at least for the moment," notes paidContent. Yet, "We may have reached a point in the debate where Schmidt's main olive branches in the op-ed -- Google's underwhelming Fast Flip experiment, a promise of mobile news to come and a reminder that publishers can always de-index themselves using robots.txt -- may not be enough to rise above the current Murdoch-vs-Google din.

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