The Times Goes To The Googleplex To Meet Its Nemesis

Given everything Times Newspapers, News International and News Corp (NSDQ: NWS) have said about the supposedly corrosive, unbundling effect of Google (NSDQ: GOOG) on the news business, this interview with Google News creator Krishna Bharat by The Times‘ Murad Ahmed is something of a meet-your-maker moment for the paper…

Ahmed, for the benefit of readers who don’t subscribe to The Times, writes that Bharat stands “accused of heralding the death of print publications” and “obscuring editorial decision-making”, while unnamed “analysts” say the site has “accelerated the internet’s impact on declining newspaper circulations” and unbundling has “left news organisations to rely on online advertising sold next to single articles rather than a package of stories or in a whole print edition”.

All of which gives Bharat the opportunity to repeat his defence: “Classifieds vanished long before we existed. We didn’t cause this. The fact is news is online for free, monetised by ads.”

Although The Times story reports Google helps fee-charging publishers with access technology, you won’t find Times stories, not even Murad’s, in Google News – the paper has rendered articles invisible to Bharat’s baby, instead favouring rebundling through its frontdoor.

News International, of course, is not alone amongst publishers lamenting the splintering of self-contained news products in to a million pieces, which is as much an internet effect as a Google effect.

» The Times is publishing a series of stories picked up from a visit to the Googleplex — see also Ahmed’s interview with Google CFO Patrick Pichette and search executive Ben Gomes, Mark Burton’s tour of the HQ and Ahmed’s snapshots of Google’s strategic struggles.