* Alan Howe
* From: Herald Sun
* December 13, 2009 8:26PM
I READ the other day that Google’s unofficial slogan is “Don’t Be Evil”. Really? Its search engines consort with some of the worst humanity has to offer and, via Google, anyone can witness the most pungently unattractive aspects of life: murder, accidental death and sexual perversion are just the start.
Asked to put together some music for a kids disco party, I ventured through Google – to find out what music might be popular with girls aged about seven, using the obvious key words. I won’t be doing that again.
Google’s chairman is Eric Schmidt, an aggressive fellow given to lecturing other media whose imperfect track records nonetheless shame what can be found using his services. You reckon he’d pay attention to detail.
Instead, he repeats lazy cliches. He was at it the other day discussing the “current crisis in the print industry”.
“A traditional technology struggling to adapt to a new, disruptive world,” he wrote in the Wall Street Journal. “It is a familiar story: it was the arrival of radio and television that started the decline of newspaper circulation. Afternoon newspapers were the first casualties.”
Radio came to Australia in the 1930s; television arrived with the 1956 Olympics. By September 1989, Victorians were buying about 750,000 newspapers a day. Twenty years on, with almost ubiquitous news services, TVs on every corner and in every shop, iPhones, BlackBerrys and PCs at work and home, and Google lifting, for free, newspapers’ content from across the globe, we’re buying even more newspapers daily – not to mention the millions hitting the Herald Sun website.
Schmidt says: “We have to embrace what users want … “
Couldn’t agree more.
Yes, this doesn’t make any sense whatsoever. Alan seems to not realise that Google is a search engine and did not publsh the dubious articles that he discovered. He also does not seem to realise that Google does not plagiarise the Herald Sun website but gives out links to it. Unfortunately this just proves that he really hasn’t any idea of what he is talking about and just regurgitating the illogical ramblings of his boss, Rupert Murdoch. (Because Murdoch doesn’t like people going to the H/S web site and reading the content but not paying for it, or at least clicking on one of the advertising links, as that way he does not make any money.) Yep, Rupert doesn’t like you going to his website and reading all that content for free. As soon as he can find a way to charge you for going to his website without you being pissed off about it he will do so!
I also have to comment on Howe’s assertion that print media is not in trouble at the moment. Circulation is down from what it was a decade ago because people can no longer want to read about what happened yesterday by purchasing a newspaper, but they want up to date news that they can get at the click of the button. The circulation of the H/S is up 0.1% from a year ago, but The Age’s readership has dropped by 1.5% in that twelve months. The H/S circulation has remained stable for most of the last decade at around 550,000 readers but in the early 1990s this was around 600,000 readers. (In the 1960s The Herald had a circualtion of 500,000, when our population was 1/2 of what it is today!) Traditional newspapers have over the last decade focussed less on actual news and more on ridiculous gossip and outlandish opinion pieces, two trends that have copied from the internet.