Google beliefs and media tools, EditorsLab in Lisbon

Google was represented at EditorsLab by Luis Collado, the head of Google Books and Google News for Spain and Portugal. He talked Thursday at 10:30.

Luis started his presentation with two very strong ideas. First, that Google believes in the value of information, which is the base of a democratic society.

People in the streets want to be informed. Information is a pillar of a democratic society.
More or less, I am working on that.
— Luis Collado, Google

Second, right now everyone with a smartphone or a tablet can produce information in the same way a journalist did in the past. But Google believes in the professional way of working, in the value of the press. “Anyone disagrees?” asked Luis.

We believe in professional journalism.
— Luis Collado, Google

But the profession has changed a lot. In the past, families would consume information in the living room, from a TV and a newspaper. Now, every family member has its own device. Technology is transforming everything.

We never consumed so much information as today. That is a very good opportunity for us.
— Luis Collado, Google

Users have more choices, but there is a problem: the day still has 24 hours. People have to select what kinds of sources of informations they want to use.

Mobile revolution

But now we are facing another revolution: the mobile revolution. In developed countries, most people are using the smartphone all the time. It is the only device that is with us for the 24 hours of the day. When we go to sleep, we take the smartphone with us.

We put the smartphone below the pillow, because... Maybe during the night can appear feet in the smartphone, and it can go away...
— Luis Collado, Google

People have a lot of devices to access and consume information: computers, tablets, smartphones, newsreaders, even the 42" smart TV in the living room. There are more than 3bn people connected to the Internet. But you need to differentiate between countries, even in the Portuguese-speaking world:

  • In more developed countries, everyone more or less has access to a Wi-Fi connection.
  • But in many countries the only connection to Internet is through satellite: there is no wired Internet. In Africa the usage of smartphones is much higher than the usage of computers, because of the connectivity.

There is another important consequence. In the printed newspaper, the reader was limited to turning pages, often in sequence. Now, with so many devices, the user has control of everything. The newsroom, the journalist, the news company, no longer have control of how the reader consumes information.

The newspaper hierarchy is gone.
— Luis Collado, Google

Most of the traditional activities that people did with a newspaper are now done with a smartphone: check the weather, read the news. A smartphone also adds maps and traffic. In Portugal, 50% of the people are using the smartphone while watching TV.

Issues for news companies and journalists

Luis Collado The fragmentation of news sources means that competition is much higher, and only a click away from us. It is much easier to loose our position in the digital world.

What is the value of branding? Do people in the digital world go for a brand, or just for the information? Luis Collado asked the question, but did not offer the views of Google regarding branding, namely the relation of the Google brand with other brands.

Luis acknowledged other issues facing journalists and news companies, without offering any suggestions:

  • Most of the information in the digital space is for free. If we want to get paid for readers consuming our information, maybe we are facing another issue.
  • Content for free, because most of the information in the digital space is for free. It is an issue to get readers to pay for the information.
  • Updating information.
  • Proximity, based on the location of smartphones.
  • New players, with pure digital media. There are lower entry barriers in the digital world, even citizen journalism.

Every citizen can be a journalist. Not a professional journalist, but a generator of information in a given time.
— Luis Collado, Google

However, Luis did offer advice to the teams at the EditorsLab, nicely tied to the theme of the friendly competition.

The key in the digital world is: how to find my readers in this global world?

My suggestion to you would be: think globally. There are Portuguese-speaking people worldwide. Maybe in New York, or maybe London.

I would recommend working on the mobile world when developing your project.
— Luis Collado, Google

Luis also stressed the need to support the Android operating system, which supports 1bn devices with 80% of market share:

You don't need to think only in the iOS operating system when developing something for the mobile space.
— Luis Collado, Google

There are many news sources using a Google Play app to distribute information

Google media tools (the sales pitch)

Luis introduced several Google Media Tools, developed specifically for journalists and content creators looking for a novelty project.

Google trends
What are people searching on Google? Discover hot trends.
Google public data
Consolidates most of the public statistics published in the world.
Google images
You can get any image in the Internet, and you can use that image in your project.
Street view
There are many newsrooms using street view because it is very visual. Some places have historical images, for example the same street in Japan before and after the earthquake.
Google maps
You can create maps with these tools, using different sources of information and creating only one map. And you have satellite images. Within Google maps there is another tool called Google crisis maps.
Google charts
Create any kind of chart for free.
YouTube news
There is a page of YouTube for media. Focus on publishing your breaking story with great metadata. Many people stop viewing videos after 20 seconds. Yet, many people spent hours on YouTube. Focus on converting a viewer into a subscriber. Use annotations and a call-to-action to drive subscribers.
Video-conference and chat with up to 10 participants. Hangouts can be streamed live to YouTube. Host needs 5Mbps of upload and download bandwidth. Participants need 1Mbps.
Google News
71 editions in 35 languages. URLs must have 3 or more digits. Don't break article body. Put dates between title and body.
Google Newsstand
Many news sources use a Google Play app to distribute content, but they can also use Google Newsstand.

We are trying to compile all the public data around the world.
— Luis Collado, Google


This article is part of EditorsLab in Lisbon: