Internet search leader Google Inc. has started hosting stories and photographs distributed each day by the AP, Agence France-Presse, The Press Association in the United Kingdom, and The Canadian Press on its own servers. Google negotiated licensing deals with all four agencies during the past two years after the services raised concerns about whether the search engine had been infringing on their copyrights. The new approach won't change the look of Google News or affect the way the section handles material produced by other media, nor will it alter the company's formula for finding news, so the material from the AP and other services won't be elevated in the pecking order of its search results. Although the negotiated licensing agreements had always given Google the right to host the material, the search engine hadn't done so until today.
Although the change might not even be noticed by many Google users, the decision to corral the content from the AP and other news services may irritate publishers and broadcasters as the move may result in less traffic for them and more for Internet's most powerful company. A diminished audience would likely translate into less online revenue, compounding the financial headaches of long-established media already scrambling to make up for the money that has been lost as more advertisers shift their spending to the Internet.