How Google News Lives On In Spain Despite Being Closed

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Did Google News really close in Spain? If you consider Google News to be the ability to browse stories by topic, especially from a dedicated home page, yes. But if it’s the ability to search for and find news stories, then arguably, Google News still lives.

Anyone trying to reach the Google News Spain home page gets a closure message, as we covered yesterday. However, Google News as a dedicated vertical search engine continues to operate in two ways.

First, Google is inserting news content into a “En las noticias” box within regular search results of Google Spain, similar to how it does this with “In the news” box for its English language sites. This is all part of Google Universal Search, where Google blends results from its vertical search engines like shopping, images and maps into regular results.

Below is a screenshot from Google.es this morning reflecting news about the Pakistan school shooting from publisher El Pais and other news sites:

Google News box in spain

The other way is that after someone does a search, they can narrow listings down just to news content using the “Noticias” link (which is the same as the News link on English-language sites). This provides them with Google News Spain content, just without the ability to browse stories by topic. Here’s how it looks:

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Google tells Search Engine Land that both the “en las noticias” box and the “Noticias” link will remain according to Google.

So, is this still “Google News” living on or merely the highlighting of news stories relevant to a topical query? Google would probably argue the latter. However, we may start to see a debate about whether the new Spanish “anti-piracy” law would apply to these results as well. I suspect the algorithm that powered Google News is still generating results for this box.

By the way, in the wake of the closure of Google News Spain yesterday “external traffic” had fallen 10 to 15 percent, according to data provided to Mathew Ingram by Chartbeat. However overall traffic at the time of the analysis was relatively stable, suggesting direct navigation.

In Germany news publishers saw a dramatic traffic loss upon removal of their “rich snippets” from Google News. It remains to be seen if there’s a comparable impact in Spain as a result of the shuttering of Google News. These early data suggest not.

What’s your view? Is Google maintaining an abbreviated version of Google News on its or is this something different?

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