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Google Readies New Markup Rules For European News Publishers

Google is preparing to change how it presents content in search results pages in France and throughout Europe. This follows the new European Copyright Directive that first rolled out in France.

The intention behind the Copyright Directive is to generate fees for media publishers whose content appears in search results and on news aggregation sites. Google however has declined to pay those licensing fees and has instead changed the way it is going to show content unless news publishers explicitly give it permission to display longer snippets and images.

The company previously said, in an originally French blog post, “When the French law comes into force, we will no longer display an overview of the content in France for European press publishers unless the publisher has made the arrangements to indicate that it is his wish. This will be the case for search results from all Google services.”

Google created new markup, meta-tages and webmaster guidelines following the French ratification of the EU Copyright Directive in order to customize their content previewed in search results. Google said in a new European press publisher FAQ that it “will not display text snippets or image thumbnails for affected European press publications in France, unless the website has implemented meta tags to permit search previews.” A wide range of questions are answered in the post, such as who must opt-in to show longer previews and what type of control publishers can exercise over the presentation of content snippets.

Google reiterated in the post its policy and position round the Copyright Directive: “[W]e don’t accept payment from anyone to be included in organic search results and we don’t pay for the links or preview content included in search results. When you use the new markup tools, you consent to the use of that preview content without payment, either to or from Google.”

Accordng to Google, snippets and preview content make users more likely to click. “Google Search sends 8 billion clicks to European publishers every month, each of which represents a real economic opportunity for publishers through advertising or subscriptions.”

If news publishers decline to opt-in to the display of snippets, Google is going to display a stripped down version of publisher content by default — what one might call “bare links.” These bare links will have no copy or images, incomplete story titles and site titles without context.

SourceGreg Sterling

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