Technology

Google To Pull Out Search Engine From Australia If A New Law Passes

Google threatens Australia that it will remove search engine service from Australia if the country passes the law that forces the tech giant company to share royalties with the Australian news publishers.

For the first time in the world, Australia is introducing a law that forces tech companies to pay Australian Media outlets for their news content. The law impacts the two big players of Tech- Google and Facebook majorly.

However, the US-based firm’s Google and Facebook take their stands. In contrast to the Australian code, the companies threatened Australia that they will be forced to withdraw some of their services if the law passed.  

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In defense, the Australian PM Scott Morrison said noting to lawmakers, “But we don’t respond to threats.” He also further said at a press conference “ Let me be clear. Australia makes our rules for things you can do in Australia. That’s done in our parliament. It’s done by our government and that’s how things work here in Australia and people who want to work with that in Australia, you are very welcome.”

While Google declined the comments of Scott Morrison.

Although Australia isn’t the big market for Google’s business, however, the code can trigger the test on a global scale, which would affect how different governments would react to giants in tech firms.

The managing director of Google at Australia and Newzealand, Mel Silva told a Senate hearing on Friday that Australia’s proposed law was “unworkable”.

She further adds, “ If this version of the code were to become law, it would give us no real choice but to stop making Google Search available in Australia”.

Why is Australia forcing this law?

Like other countries, Google is dominating the search engine industry in Australia as well. Australian government comments that Google is a near-essential utility that has only little market competition.

Australian Government has enforced the tech giants that the companies should pay a “fair” amount to the news media for gaining customers that are interested in reading news.

Extending the event, the government has also argued that the news industry needs financial support because it is believed that a strong media is vital to a democracy.

Previously, in Australia, there has been a decline in advertising revenue to about 75% since 2005, according to the government.

Even though the threat from Google to remove the search engine service from entire Australia seems critical yet, the analytics shows that only 12.5% of the searches in Australia is for news portal, according to the lawmakers.

What does Google have to say?

The law is “an untenable precedent for our businesses and the digital economy” says the managing director Ms. Silva. If the company has to pay for links and search results, it would just be senseless.

The internet doesn’t work that way, and the search engine will not. It’s not compatible with the free-flowing share of information online or “how the internet works”, she adds.

If it gets passed, “ we do not see a way, with the financial and operational risks, that we could continue to offer a service in Australia”, she said.

Google confirmed that last week it blocked the Australian news sites for 1% of its local users. The experiment was however considered as a test, where it checked the value of Australian news services.

Last year, Facebook also approached to stop Australian users from sharing the news articles, if only the law gets passed.

The tech giants also agree that the news organizations receive the benefits from driving traffic (readers) to their news portals. Also, Google News Partnership is evidence that Google supports journalism.

So, Where does the revenue goes at present

According to Kate Silver, a business reporter “Australia’s news industry is struggling. Of every A$100 ($77) spent on digital advertising, A$81 goes to Google and Facebook”, and to make things worse, Covid-19 started. 

So, we can see why Australia is pushing hard to make the law. Plenty of Australian’s outlet is forced to closed because of reducing the amount on a digital advertisement. 

While some businesses in Australia were shutting down, Google has performed very well on the other hand.  Only last year, the social media giant made almost $4 billion from Australia where it has to pay only $45 million in tax.

So that’s where the fuss is. 

The Australian government doesn’t stay quiet here. Both Facebook and Google have been accused of misleading Australian consumers about how their data is being used to launch inquiries into digital advertising and the app stores market by the Australian competition watchdog. 

What do the Australians have to say about it?

Australians are still confused and expressed their anger against the digital world to the proposals of both sides. With this, we can assume that the citizens are neither happy from the Australian lawmakers, nor with Google and Facebook.

The other half of the citizens questioned that, if the Search engine services get removed, whether they will be able to access other services of Google like, Google Maps, Gmail, and Google Home Services or not. 

Google and Facebook also gained a reputed pal to support them. Sir Tim Berners-Lee, the inventor of the world wide web, said that “ Australia’s plan would make the web “unworkable around the world”.

Read the full bill passed by the Australian government here.

Image Source: Unsplash

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