Google wants to help publishers make money online

LONDON - Google has hit back at criticisms that it is making life hard for the publishing industry, saying that it has paid out more than £3bn in revenues from its AdSense to publishers in the past year.

Speaking at the FIPP conference today, Matt Brittin, now the country director for Google UK, said that the search giant wanted to help newspapers and magazines to make money online.

Brittin was previously head of direct sales at Google. Since his promotion in March he has had to smooth over rows at the company stemming from the launch of Google Streetview, Google keywords and trademarked brands.

More criticism hit the company this week from publishers at the World Magazine Congress in London who claimed Google makes life hard for publishers by accessing their content without authorisation.

Brittin told the audience today that the challenge is working out a viable model for monetising online content, but admitted that current models are "lagging consumer behaviour and all of us are trying to keep up".

He said: "Google does not have any of the answers, we are a technology company not a media company.

"All we are trying to do is help traditional media in a new environment."

His rebuttal came after Google received criticism from Robert Thomson, the editor of The Wall Street Journal and former editor of The Times, earlier this year.

During a panel discussion on the future of newspapers Thomson said: "Google devalues everything it touches.

"Google is great for Google, but it's terrible for content providers, because it divides that content quantitatively rather than qualitatively."

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