In the new digital media world, traditional lines dividing companies are blurring everywhere. David Carr at the New York Times makes the argument that even Google, which has adamantly denied being a media company in the past, can no longer escape the terrifying label.
Carr argues that Google is no longer merely a search tool because in generating results, it “does not want its search engines to crawl across a wasteland of machine-generated info-spam and amateur content with limited allure.” Though Google uses machines and algorithms to point users to more quality search results, the fact that it is still choosing one kind of content over another is “fundamentally an editorial exercise.”
Google chief economist Hal Varian told the Times that Google has “astutely avoided” the media business for the past 12 years, but it’s hard to agree with him looking at the company from the outside. As the Times summarizes, Google:
derives 96 percent of its revenue from advertising, has a video platform that is currently negotiating with the National Basketball Association, a movie studio and various celebrities, and is developing a subscription service that would be plug-and-play for publishers and consumers the world over.
Google, it may be time to officially welcome you to the media industry. Don’t worry, there are worse places to be!
Or so we’re told.