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Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Where Have I Heard This One Before? 

Next: The Google Street Journal


From the Los Angeles Times' Andres Martinez:

It's only a matter of time before a Yahoo or a Google decides to buy an old media company in order to differentiate itself by offering high-quality, proprietary news. Or a company like Amazon could buy a prestigious newspaper publisher and reinvent itself as a portal, leapfrogging over those that treat news updates as a commodity.

Can anyone say AOL/Time Warner? Perhaps a Yahoo or Google could make the merger of "old" and "new" work better than that fiasco, but I doubt it.

Frankly, Yahoo and Google, as far as I use them, aren't content creators. They're delivery mechanisms for the information I need (RSS feeds, my stock quotes, searches). And they're delivery mechanisms for a lot of the output of "old" media.

As Martinez points out:

And yet, for all their revolutionary and transformative power as information hubs, these companies have not reinvented the news business. Go to Yahoo's home page and the prominently featured news items are mostly wire stories from such sources as the Associated Press and Reuters. How retro. The point-and-click world still depends on us old-fashioned news types for indispensable content.

I think that's true. But that doesn't mean that Yahoo or Google could do any better owning a media brand than Steve Case, or Bill Gates, for that matter.

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