Content Aware media news: April 4, 2024

Published: 05 April 2024

Google looking at launching premium AI-powered search behind paywall, report the Financial Times

Google finally puts a price on content. But not to pay you, dear creator or publisher.

Well well well, how the turn tables. Google is planning a paywall , says a report behind a paywall.

Much like last week when we outlined how Google has become a publisher in search firm clothing, here it is now with the radical idea of hiding its best content away behind a subscription layer, almost like huge numbers of publishers had to after one search engine in particular obliterated their business models to boost its own.

(Ironically, despite paying for the privilege of seeing Google's AI-boosted search results, subscribers will not be shielded from ads, so consider this the new “cake and eat it” example for the modern audience.)

Paid Search, were it to get the dollar-green light, removes one of the crutches Google relies upon to defend against claims that it should pay for the use of content monetised via ads - that it wasn't really using the content. 

Well, in the Google paywall world it is definitely using content to make money, via the AI which helps craft traditional search results into article-and-advice answers.

Does this mean it is also analysing how to divvy up payments for those who supplied intelligence into the LLM? Supposedly OpenAI is investigating this very notion so we can optimistically assume the Google brain trust of ethical minds is doing the same.

Speaking of assumptions, is this the team that also threw itself with gusto into how best to delete all the billions of records of users who trusted that the Incognito Search Mode of Chrome was, in fact, as described. As opposed to being a personal data harvesting tool just like everything else it does.

Meanwhile, the Google money machine is about to consume marketing and email giant HubSpot, which very likely has all your details already as a user of some service or product, or manages such matters for a company you use or work for. 

Obviously, there are no concerns we should be wary of that Google will seize treasure troves of new data about you and your preferences, and no data will change hands at all. Hey, maybe - like being a subscription publisher - Google is just using HubSpot to get into the newsletter game too: we at Content Aware are worried! 

On that bombshell, let's get on with the edition...

Putting the Rob in Robot
If the problem is that there is simply not enough content left in the world to feed the AIs - no really, that's what is being claimed - then I have the answer: get it to ask GPP's walking Content Bomb Rob Corbidge a question. Not only does he seem to know about everything, but he turns the question back on you to prime your mind with dozens of possible new ways to tackle the question. Until then, publishers and media companies perhaps sit on the best solution to the problem: original thought, and original content.

Incognit-no Mode
Did you think Incognito Searches on Google were not being tracked and stored? Sorry to burst your bubble.

Waking the Privacy Bear
The California agency which plans to let loose the dogs of war (i.e. levy fines) against improper use of citizen data is limbering for action, it seems. If you understand GDPR and accommodate for it, you should be fine. If not, time for some due diligence. 

No news is not news
No surprises here that Facebook is closing off news for users, but do mark the date where it started removing news to track your Facebook traffic should there be a drop-off. If there is no drop off, then perhaps that tells you all you need to know about Facebook as a reliable source (of traffic, we mean!).

An X parrot
Since we're on the subject of tracking fading stats on a social network, marketing guru Mark Scully highlights the slow slide of Twitter into being X into being something to avoid.

Horrible name, horrible effect
Keep an eye out for 'pink slime' news rivals becoming more widespread throughout the year as numerous elections play out.

Bright young things
Press Gazette's deep dive on the loss of interest between younger audiences and news coverage. Causes, effects, and who is doing best at stemming the flow.

Just monkeying about
Here is a publishing secret: not all author names are real. Shock horror! There's usually not much guile involved - sometimes it's just expedient, an in-joke, or perhaps for the protection of the actual author. Nowadays, it's also bad for SEO. But what happens when your fake author writes one of your most famous articles? Warning: contains money pee!

Just asking questions of AI
We use a bunch of LLMs at GPP to power our AI wizard GAIA, including Anthropic, so it's refreshing to see openness about their efforts to make them harder to to break, and a proactive attempt to alert the wider industry. It turns out that telling an AI that it has previously given you a particular answer - one you simply wrote yourself - is enough to trick it into building on that false answer and evading system protections.

Universal entropy
Reminder #4261 that Universal Analytics joins the long list of dead Google products soon. Are you prepped and ready for its departure?

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