If French news publishers really want to shoot themselves in the foot (and face and stomach), Google is going to let them.That's the gist of a letter from Google sent to several French ministers regarding a proposed law that would require search engines to pay news sites for sending people to said news sites.
Given that Google's search market share is around 90 percent in France, the law really is targeting Google. A similar law is being considered in Germany, in fact that's where the French's inspiration comes from.
Google, obviously, is not happy with the proposal and has said that any move like this would force it to stop including media sites in its search index.
The government, of course, got all upset about Google "threatening it" because, apparently, politicians think everything is about them.
The new socialist government in France is very supportive of media companies, artificially protecting private corporations and companies goes hand in hand with any socialist agenda.
In an effort to clarify things, Google has posted the entire letter online, for anyone to see. It's in French, but even Google Translate is enough to make Google's position clear.
There have been reports of Google threatening to delist French news sites. Google doesn't exactly say that, but it does say that such a law would "force" it to remove links to these sites.
Google said it "cannot accept" the introduction of such a law in France as it would threaten Google's very existence. "As a consequence [Google] would be required to no longer reference French sites."
Google went on to say that it directs four billion clicks, aka four billion page views to French news sites each month.
"Remember that Google redirects four billion clicks per month to the websites of publishers. Google News - where there is no advertising - alone accounts for 1 billion clicks," it said.
"As such, every minute, Google offers 100,000 opportunities for publishers to engage with readers and generate financial gain through advertising, the paid content or subscription," it added.
This is Google saying that if news sites can't translate 100,000 visits per minute, four billion every month, into money, it's not Google's fault.