Did you really think Google and Twitter were going to let Facebook, Snapchat, and Apple take their profitable positions at the intersection of mobile consumers and news?
Google and Twitter are reportedly appealing to publishers to show “instant articles” to their many users. The duo is promising publishers that just as with Facebook’s own “Instant Articles” effort, their program will guarantee faster and more reliable delivery of news stories.
If the partnership works as planned, Twitter or Google search users who click on publishers’ mobile links will soon be served full articles at near-light speed.
Differentiating the effort, however, Google and Twitter are creating their publishing tools as an open-source project, Re/code reports. That could encourage a number of additional tech companies to adopt the service, which could then crowd out existing efforts by Facebook and others.
The strategy is so Google, which — between its Android operating system and its previous pairings with Twitter — is always partial to open systems and partnerships. It will be interesting to see how this approach fares against aggressive efforts by Facebook, Snapchat, and now Apple.
Along with its existing Instant Article push, Facebook is reportedly working on a new stand-alone app that will blast breaking news alerts provided by partner publishers.
Another question is how these competing efforts will impact publishers — a heated topic for debate among insiders and outsiders alike. Google has long run into resentment from publishers over its syndication efforts — a fact that might not bode well for this latest effort.
Just a few weeks ago, News Corp CEO Robert Thomson publicly lambasted the search giant for “piracy, zealotry and kleptocracy.” Including Facebook and LinkedIn in his diatribe, the exec added: “None of them actually create content, and they certainly have little intention of paying for it, but they do redistribute the content created by others.”
Whether Google can overcome such resentment remains to be seen.
This column was previously published in Moblog on September 11, 2015.