Life without Google: Australia is now facing unthinkable

Google opposes a planned law that might force the corporate and Facebook Inc. to pay Australian publishers for news content. 

Life without Google: Australia is now facing unthinkable
Life without Google: Australia is now facing unthinkable

Imagine a world without Google, the program so pervasive it’s the start line for quite five billion queries each day . That’s the truth facing Australia, where the tech giant is threatening to unplug its homepage during a standoff with the govt .

Google opposes a planned law that might force the corporate and Facebook Inc. to pay Australian publishers for news content. the web juggernaut’s ultimatum to local lawmakers change the legislation, or elsehas left a digital vacuum hanging over a nation that essentially knows only one thanks to navigate the online . Google runs 95% of Internet searches in Australia.

Potential fallout from the spat goes far beyond Australia for Alphabet Inc.-owned Google, whose dominance of worldwide advertising has made it a target for watchdogs worldwide. If the corporate backs down in Australia, the pay-for-news law risks becoming a template for jurisdictions including Canada and therefore the European Union that are following the quarrel and keen to shorten Google’s lead.

But disabling what's arguably the world’s most famous website would hand all of Australia to rivals, including Microsoft Corp.’s Bing and DuckDuckGo, which have did not dislodge Google because the gateway to the online . These search-engine competitors would suddenly have a playground for development and an edge to advance on the worldwide stage.

“The prospect of Google search disappearing is frightening at the best ,” Smith said. “It’s quite reflexive of me to Google something, anything, that I’m even mildly unsure of.”

Searching for ‘best beach Sydney’ shows the variance in performance among Google’s competitors. DuckDuckGo’s first result was a billboard for a hotel quite 1,000 kilometers away in Queensland, with Sydney beach reviews listed below a second ad link. Search Encrypt, which touts its data-protection capability, said: ‘It seems like there aren’t any great matches.’ Bing’s initial suggestion was Bondi Beach Post Office. Only Google returned a true beach, Bondi, first up.

World-first legislation

The world-first legislation are going to be considered by Australia’s parliament from the week starting Feb. 15 after a key senate committee recommended Friday that the bill be passed.“The government expects all parties to still work constructively towards reaching commercial agreements,” Treasurer Josh Frydenberg said during a statement welcoming the senate report.

The government says the local media industry--including Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp. and Sydney Morning Herald-publisher Nine Entertainment Co. --has been bled of advertising revenue by the tech giants and will be paid fairly for content.

Google argues it drives traffic to their websites, which being forced to pay to display snippets of stories breaks the principle of an open Internet. It also opposes the law’s final-offer arbitration model that determines what proportion it should pay publishers.

Facebook has said it's going to stop Australians from sharing news on its platform if the law is enacted, an unprecedented step.

Australia’s entire economic output is a smaller amount than Alphabet’s $1.4 trillion market price , so it's going to be surprising the distant and tiny market is suddenly so important. But the web titans are so keen to avoid Australia setting a worldwide precedent that Alphabet Chief military officer Sundar Pichai and Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg broke into their diaries in recent weeks for phone hookups with Prime Minister Scott Morrison or his ministers.

Sniffing a chance , Microsoft President Brad Smith and CEO Satya Nadella also reached out.Grabbing the free hit, Smith told Morrison that Microsoft would invest to “ensure Bing is like our competitors.” in the week , Smith wrote during a blog post Thursday that the U.S. should adopt its own version of the Australian law.

DuckDuckGo, an enquiry engine that says it doesn’t track its users, is additionally trying to take advantage.“There’s a growing global demand for privacy online and Australians don’t need to await government action” to prevent using Google, DuckDuckGo said by email. Search Encrypt says its results expire after half-hour of inactivity.

Non-profit alternatives have also been suggested. The Australian Greens party this month asked the govt to think about fixing a publicly owned program instead of let Microsoft muscle in. “We shouldn't hunt down another foreign giant to fill the gap,” said Senator Sarah Hanson-Young.