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Are UK newspapers about to negotiate with Google?

Could UK newspapers be about to seize the initiative when it comes to Google including their content in its Google News aggregator and now prominently its main search results? Rumours and clues abound that this could be the case...

The Telegraph's gone on the record with its concerns and others may be ready to follow and take action...

Could it be that either that UK media groups are all going to gang up on Google to demand some sort of ad revenue share or at least one or two of the big media groups are negotiating with the search engine behind the scenes?

Imagine: UK newspapers using collective bargaining. It could just happen...

And Google negotiating with newspapers? Well the precedent is there: just today we've seen talks open with the Belgian Copiepresse group which as a result has allowed its content to appear in Google News once more.

Meanwhile a Hitwise study in the US, reported on Journalism.co.uk found...

...news sites received 17 per cent more traffic from search engines this March than in the same month in 2006, meaning the likes of Google are increasingly the first port of call for readers seeking breaking news.

Specifically, web sites for printed news organs got 29.7 per cent more traffic from Google than last year, while those for TV and radio news sites received 35.9 per cent more. Google now makes up 14.9 per cent of all incoming links for print sites and 10.2 per cent for broadcast sites.

It's clear more people are using Google as their starting point for news on the web. I know I do these days - when I'm looking for general news or subjects outside of those covered by my top RSS feeds.

But whatever UK media news outfits agree with Google, they'll still need to develop deeper understanding of how to compete in search engines and aggregators for attention... Even if you get some AdSense revenue diverted your way you'd still be wanting your stories to beat the pack to the front page. Here's an example of how Google is now including news results on its main results page (you know, the one eight out of ten web searches in the UK bring up).

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