Search Biz: Google News Courting Legal Trouble?, Bold Predictions About Behavioral Ad Targeting & More

Will the recent introduction of paid ads on Google News lead to legal issues for Google? That question is discussed today on ClickZ, where Sandra Baron of the Media Law Resource Center says publishers will be looking at what Google is doing:

“A significant issue for content providers is whether or not what Google provides becomes a substitute for going to the actual content providers site. When that tension becomes too great, people seek legal solutions to it.”

Google News itself only offers snippets of news articles, a photo, and then links to the content provider:

Google News search results with ads

The ads on the right only appear on search results pages in Google News. In cases where the news content is actually hosted on Google, like the story below, there are no ads to be found.

Google News hosted content w/o ads

It would be a mistake to predict how the publishers and, perhaps more importantly, their lawyers feel about this, but using Baron’s comments as a yardstick, Google is probably in good shape — they are not showing ads in situations where Google is a substitute for the content provider.

There were some bold predictions this week at the OMMA Behavioral conference in New York. According to MediaPost, Jeff Hirsch of Audience Science told the conference that behavioral targeting will surpass search ad spending by 2020.

Well, just last week Danny Sullivan surveyed the major engines about BT and they’re all reluctant to do it. As far back as 2007, Google said that it’s not ready to go too deep on behavioral targeting of ads, and more recently we covered the various legal issues associated with behavioral targeting. 2020 is a long way away, but it would seem that BT also has a long way to go.

If Microsoft and Yahoo eventually do find a way to join forces, don’t expect it to be a cure-all for Microsoft’s search and Internet struggles. Speaking this week at a Goldman Sachs conference, Microsoft CFO Chris Liddell said that “Yahoo doesn’t have the magic solution. No one should think it will transform the industry.” Liddell also added fuel to the fire about, saying the current brand hasn’t caught on with searchers and may be replaced.

And finally, Google talked about its data center plans at the same Goldman Sachs conference. We’ve reported before about Google delaying the construction of data centers in places like North Carolina and Oklahoma. Alan Eustance, Google’s senior VP for engineering, said this week that the facilities will eventually be built:

“We will build those data centers. There’s no doubt that over the life of the company we will need that computation. None of those sites have been shelved.”

Related Topics: Channel: Industry | Search Biz


About The Author: is Editor-In-Chief of Search Engine Land. His news career includes time spent in TV, radio, and print journalism. His web career continues to include a small number of SEO and social media consulting clients, as well as regular speaking engagements at marketing events around the U.S. He recently launched a site dedicated to Google Glass called Glass Almanac and also blogs at Small Business Search Marketing. Matt can be found on Twitter at @MattMcGee and/or on Google Plus. You can read Matt's disclosures on his personal blog.

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