There’s a lot going on in the world as it is at the minute, however over in Australia, things might get a little more different. No, I am not talking about COVID and the continuation of the travel ban, I am talking about the possibility that Australia may have to live without Google Search.

Intrigued? Confused? Read on!

Going back to the middle of January, Google admitted that they are blocking most of the Australian news websites in an experiment that only shows 1% of all Australian news stories within the SERPs.  This is in direct response to a world’s first from Australia – the News Media Bargaining Code – a piece of legislation that would force Facebook and Google to share royalties with news publishers, in an attempt to share the wealth when it comes to news.

A Senate hearing took place following this and Google Australia’s Managing Director Mel Silva said the new law to force them to pay for the news they use would be “unworkable” before going on to state:

“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.”

Mel Silva went on to say:

“We do not see a way, with the financial and operations risks, that we could continue to offer a service in Australia.”

It is not yet known whether this would include all Google services in Australia such as Gmail.

Since 2005, there has been a declining trend in advertising revenue for Australian newsprint.  The news from Google that they would withdraw these news outlets from the SERPS is an additional and worrying blow.

Facebook was also similarly aggressive with their response at the same hearing with the social media giant saying that they would block all Australian based users from sharing news and posting news links should the new law be passed, confirming that there is no commercial benefit for them to showcase this type of content.

According to Google and Facebook, they are both providing a service to the media industry via referral traffic and that with the new law in place, it would cause financial and operational risks of unmanageable proportions.

If Australia were to continue driving forward with this law, they and any other countries who might be thinking about following suit would have to gear up for the possibility of a world without access to Google and Facebook.

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