We and the industry ... [should] personalize the news.Then, Eric described how newspapers could make money using personalized advertising:
At its best, the on-line version of a newspaper should learn from the information I'm giving it -- what I've read, who I am and what I like -- to automatically send me stories and photos that will interest me.
Imagine a magazine online that knew everything about you, knew what you had read, allowed you to go deep into a subject and also showed you things... that are serendipit[ous] ... popular ... highly targetable ... [and] highly advertisable. Ultimately, money will be made.Finally, Eric claimed Google has a moral duty to help newspapers succeed:
Google sees itself as trying to make the world a better place. And our values are that more information is positive -- transparency. And the historic role of the press was to provide transparency, from Watergate on and so forth. So we really do have a moral responsibility to help solve this problem.Eric's words come at a time when, as the New York Times reports, newspapers are cratering, with "revenue down 16.6 percent last year and about 28 percent so far this year."
Well-funded, targeted professionally managed investigative journalism is a necessary precondition in my view to a functioning democracy ... That's what we worry about ... There [must be] enough revenue that ... the newspaper [can] fulfill its mission.
For more on personalized news, please see my earlier posts, "People who read this article also read", "A brief history of Findory", and "Personalizing the newspaper".
For more on personalized advertising, please see my July 2007 post, "What to advertise when there is no commercial intent?"
Update: Some more useful references in the comments.
Update: Five weeks later, Eric Schmidt, in the WSJ, imagines a newspaper that "knows who I am, what I like, and what I have already read" and that makes sure that "like the news I am reading, the ads are tailored just for me" instead of being "static pitches for products I'd never use." He also criticizes newspapers for treating readers "as a stranger ... every time [they] return."