You may have read in the press that the Italian Competition Authority today notified us of the opening of an investigation in relation to Google News in response to a claim by the Italian Editors Association (FIEG). We're still reviewing this claim, but in the meantime, we thought it might be helpful to clarify how publishers can control their content on the web.

First, Google News has always been about highlighting diverse perspectives from multiple sources and then driving new readers directly to publishers' sites. We don’t display the news stories in their entirety. Rather, our approach is akin to that of web search: we simply show the headlines, a line or two of text and a link to the site – just enough information to make the user want to read the full story. Once a user clicks through to the article, it’s up to the news publisher to decide how to profit from this free traffic. They can choose to charge people to read the story in addition to placing advertisements on their site.

We're constantly in dialogue with news publishers and users about how we can improve Google News. As we explained to the FIEG when we met them earlier this year, Google News has over 25,000 sources from around the world. All of these news providers--like any website publisher--are in complete control when it comes to whether they want to be found on Google services. So if a news publisher doesn’t want to be found on, or any other reputable search engines, it can prevent indexation automatically via a universally accepted Internet standard called robots.txt. Publishers also have a range of other ways of controlling how their content appears (or doesn't). One such option is for a publisher to continue to appear in Google web search, but not in Google News. In that case, all they need to do is contact us to be removed. In fact, we met with several Italian publishers and representatives of FIEG just this summer to explain these options.

We respect the wishes of content owners, which is why we've made it easy to opt out of our services. However, when it comes to Google News, we have far more requests for inclusion than for removal. That's because publishers understand that the traffic generated by Google News, and services like it, provide valuable traffic: Google News sends over 1 billion clicks per month to news publishers.

We'll continue to work with all web sites and news publishers to help more people discover their content -- and for those that don't want to appear in Google or Google News, we'll continue to honor those requests as we always have.

Posted by Josh Cohen, Senior Business Product Manager, Google News