Bill Keller Now Calls Google a News "Ally," But Didn't Trust It Last Month

Times Executive Editor Bill Keller has certainly changed his tune on the search engine and news aggregator Google. Addressing the newsroom recently, Keller defended Google as an "ally" that drove traffic to the Times' website, reported John Koblin at the New York Observer:

"Google is one of those companies that we generally refer to as a frenemy," said New YorkTimes executive editor Bill Keller at his semi-annual newsroom question-and-answer session, informally called Throw Stuff at Bill.

Google has been a popular whipping boy these days. Last month,Wall Street Journal managing editor Robert Thomson told The Australian that aggregator sites like Google act like "parasites or tech tapeworms." The argument goes like this: Google draws revenue and sells ads against content that is created by others but without sharing the wealth with those news outfits.

But Mr. Keller argued that Google - which he described as a powerful and self-interested company, but still an "ally" of the paper - isn't precisely a parasite.

"I think there're a lot of places you can level that allegation at," he said. "Google isn't particularly one of them. Google News generally runs a headline, maybe a first line of a story from The Times and a link. On balance, they're driving a lot of traffic to us. I don't think most of what Google does in that regard could be described as parasitism or piracy."

That's much nicer than what Keller said about Google at a ceremony atStanford University in Aprilas documented by Politico:

If you're inclined to trust Google as your source for news - Google yourself.