Spanish Anti Google Group: Don’t go!

Recently we reported on Google’s decision to shutter Google News in Spain. The new Spanish copyright laws would have forced them to pay publishers for featuring any content – even just headlines – in their service. Google claimed that they were closing the service in response to this as it isn’t monetised.

The latest development in this spat is that AEDE, the anti-Google lobby group that represents Spanish publishers, now wants to stop Google News leaving Spain. I’m not quite sure how they expect the government to do this for them, short of significant changes to the new laws, which presumably they don’t want.

I imagine that nervous Spanish publishers immediately thought of Germany when Google announced its decision to close News in Spain. In Germany waivers were available, so publishers could decide they would waive their right to charge fees and continue as before. Publisher Axel Springer held out for some time, but eventually they could no longer stand the reported 2/3 traffic drop and signed up. Perhaps pressure from publishers in Spain is now going the other way in anticipation?

In other news, Google is also reported to be leaving Russia – this time due to new data privacy laws. From September 2016 Russian user data has to be stored within Russia. This presents serious logistical challenges and non-negligible expense for huge companies such as Google and Adobe (who have already left).

Now, Google isn’t dominant in Russia anyway, but all these recent stories add up to a sneaking feeling that the tide might just be turning against Google. That or extreme measures such as leaving countries and dropping publishers in response to laws they don’t like will eventually see the change of those laws. In Spain? Probably. In Russia? Don’t bet on it.