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Google News Aggregation Is All Almost Half of Us Need

Here's a statistic that makes you think about the ongoing tug of war between newspapers and Google: according to a report by Outsell, 44 percent of Internet users read Google News links without ever clicking on the sources providing the links. Depending on how you choose to look at it, this is either good news or bad for newspaper executives like Rupert Murdoch, who has famously declared he'd like to pull his links off of Google entirely.

The good news is that if so many people are merely scanning headlines of the same story, the absence of a headline from, say, a News Corp. publication doesn't matter. It's not like that headline is driving traffic.

The bad news is same as it ever was. Newspapers who are not a part of Google News' listings still obviously stand no chance of using Google to drive traffic. And, as my BNET Media colleague David Weir points out, the influence of Google, and Yahoo, and Bing, on news site traffic, is ever more substantial. According to comScore, in September 2009, more than 40 percent of The New York Times' traffic came from those search engines.

No doubt this statistic from Outsell will be used as a weapon in either side of the battle over newspaper content, though let's remember, without newspapers there wouldn't be much except for ranty blog posts to link to in the first place. It would be really fun if Outsell, or some other outfit, would do a focus group in which users could only access non-professional content on Google News. Maybe then consumers could judge the true value of online newspaper content. A girl can dream, can't she?

Previous coverage of Google and the news industry at BNET Media: