There is, on the one hand, an incredibly simple explanation for the shift in news organizations’ attitude toward Google: clicks. Google News was founded 10 years ago — September 22, 2002 — and has since functioned not merely as an aggregator of news, but also as a source of traffic to news sites. Google News, its executives tell me, now “algorithmically harvests” articles from more than 50,000 news sources across 72 editions and 30 languages. And Google News-powered results, Google says, are viewed by about 1 billion unique users a week. (Yep, that’s billion with a b.) Which translates, for news outlets overall, to more than 4 billion clicks each month: 1 billion from Google News itself and an additional 3 billion from web search.
As a Google representative put it, “That’s about 100,000 business opportunities we provide publishers every minute.”