Googley Eyes

By Paul

March 16, 2023

About a week ago, Sabrina Geremia, the head of Google Canada, gave evidence to a House of Commons committee. The committee wanted to hear from Google why they wouldn’t compensate news organizations for information Google used on their sites. Under the “Online News Act”, platforms like Google, Facebook and Instagram would have to compensate organizations like Global News, The Globe and Mail and The Toronto Star for using news scraped from their web sites on their own sites.

From the Globe and Mail article about Google’s testimony came a quote from a Meta spokesperson. Meta is the parent company of Facebook.

“If the Online News Act passes in its current form, we will end the availability of news content on Facebook and Instagram for people in Canada,” said Lisa Laventure, a Meta spokesperson.

Well, what the f**k. If I take information from The Star and repost it for profit on my web site, wouldn’t I get the s**t sued out of me? My question is, how on earth did Facebook and Google get away with this for so long?

For Google, it’s free traffic to the news sites. Google reasons that they’ve provided over $250 million in value to Canadian publishers by using their news on Google’s sites.

Poppycock. It’s theft. Don’t give them the value, give them the dollars. In the same edition that the Globe published the article I’ve referenced, Google bought a full page ad defending their actions, knowing there would be backlash. The only thing that the ad doesn’t do is say, “My friends…”.

Google ad March 11 2023

I don’t understand when it became okay to take someone else’s work and profit from it. But it’s rampant. From AI to Google using news outlets to boost their search results, it seems it’s everywhere.

I guess we can blame Napster. Napster made it easy to steal share music without paying for it. It almost killed the music industry. Now Google wants to profit from legitimate news organizations, even while allowing content that is malicious, racist or just plain wrong on its sites.

Google and Facebook and other on-line platforms suck up about 65% of the advertising dollars available in the marketplace. Revenue that used to go to newspapers and television stations. Then they take the content that the remaining news outlets still produce and use that on their sites. Talk about adding insult to injury.

I hope the Online News Act passes. I hope people are forced to go to The Globe or The Star’s web site for proper journalism, not some curated algorithmic vomit that passes for news from Google. Because every time you click on a site or an ad using Google Chrome, Google learns more about you and your preferences. Then they feed you the news they think will keep you browsing as long as possible.

Maybe someday I’ll tell you how I really feel about it.

We had a spooky moonrise last week.

March Moonrise


March 16, 2023
Be sure to check out Dana's blog, Time to Write. I like to think I'm a pretty good writer. Dana is an AMAZING writer.
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