Google threatens to pull its search engine from Australia

Google has threatened to pull its search engine from Australia over the nation’s effort to make the tech giant pay local publishers for news.

Australia is bringing a world-first law to make Google, Facebook, and potentially other tech companies pay media outlets for their news content.

But the US firms have fought back, by giving the warning to block Australian users from accessing its search service.

Managing director of Google Australia and New Zealand Mel Silva told a parliamentary hearing into the proposed scheme that it was unworkable and “untenable” for them.

“The principle of unrestricted linking between websites is fundamental to search and coupled with the unmanageable financial and operational risk,” she said.

“The principle of unrestricted linking between websites is fundamental to search and coupled with the unmanageable financial and operational risk,” she said.

“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”.

“This is our worst-case scenario, we do not want to be in this situation, we would love to get to an outcome where there is a workable outcome for all parties.”

Ms. Silva said the company was willing to enter into agreements with news publishers to direct users to their content and had already made similar deals across the globe.

“There is, however, a workable solution for Google where we would pay publishers for value, they would create and curate content and panels that would exist across several Google services,” she said.

“These are deals that have been done all around the world, 450 so far.”

Australia’s Response to Google’s threat


Prime Minister Scott Morrison has retaliated against Google’s threat to stop access to its search engine in Australia.

“Let me be clear, Australia makes our rules for things you can do in Australia. That’s done in our Parliament,” the Prime Minister said.

“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’re very welcome”.

“But we don’t respond to threats.”

The comments come after Google insisted during a parliamentary inquiry that, if the Federal Government continued with its proposed digital media code, it would stop making its search engine accessible in Australia.

The reason behind Australia pushing this law

The government has argued that the tech companies should pay newsrooms a “fair” sum for their journalism because they gain customers from people who want to read the news

According to the government, the Australian print media has seen a massive 75% decline in advertising revenue since 2005.

According to a report by Katie Silver(BCC News Business Reporter), Of every A$100 (£56; $77) spent on digital advertising, A$81 goes to Google and Facebook.

With companies reducing their digital advertising spend, a number of outlets in Australia have been forced to close.

On the other hand, Google has been doing well, made nearly $4bn from Australia last year, while paying $45m in tax.

The reaction of Australian people

Australians have expressed immense confusion and anger online at both sides over the proposal and debated over whether they could get by using other search engines.

Also asked whether Gmail, Google Maps and Google Home services will also be replaced with the elimination of the search engine – something the company has not made clear.

On Thursday, Google agreed to pay French news publishers for snippets of news stories shown in search results, after copyright law allegations were argued by the nation’s media.

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