Google’s UK MD gives evidence to MPs: “Google is not a parasite”.

Matt Brittin, Google's UK MD, gave evidence this week to the UK government inquiry into the future of local media and denied accusations that Google is a "parasite" on traditional newspapers.  The Department of Culture, Media and Sport inquiry is examining the impact of digital convergence, new media technology and changing consumer behaviour on the UK regional newspaper industry.Brittin described Google as a "virtual newsagent", and noted that publishers can choose not to have their content indexed if they wish. At the same time he acknowledged that the economics of newspaper publishing are now very different from the time when the only place to advertise was the local paper.  "Online everybody needs to experiment", he commented, praising regional newspaper publisher Johnston Press's recent decision to test paywalls on some of its local papers.He also spent some time explaining the new restrictions which allow publishers to limit clickthroughs from Google News to their subscriber-only content.  Brittin maintained a careful distinction between the revenue models of Google News compared to Google web search, the nuances of which might have been lost on the MPs who were grilling him. It's a fine line, and it's easy to paint Google as being responsible for the current woes of the newspaper industry. As Brittin point out, though, Google delivers 100,000 clicks per minute ­­— that's 4 billion clicks per month — to news websites worldwide. Not quite the stuff of pantomime villains.Video of the entire session is here.