Google has decided to significantly cut down the duplicate content announced Josh Cohen, Business Product Manager:

Our goal has always been to offer users as many different perspectives on a story from as many different sources as possible, which is why we include thousands of sources from around the world in Google News. However, if many of those stories are actually the exact same article, it can end up burying those different perspectives.”

As it follows, “ Instead of 20 “different” articles (which actually used the exact same content), we’ll show the definitive original copy and give credit to the original journalist.”

Add to this a recent deal the search giant struck with Associated Press, Agence France-Presse, UK Press Association and the Canadian Press to directly host their content on Google News and the picture is complete. But what does it exactly mean?

Well, first of all, it means that sites living exclusively on posting or rewriting agency news might cease to exist in a while. No traffic from Google means less revenue, if not no revenue at all. They may still be made available to the user if the “Sort by date with duplicates included ” option is clicked, but that’s hardly any consolation. No listing on the front page, no direct listing on the related sources page, this basically means you’re not worthy to be read.

Needless to say, less sources and different content are good things. Still, it remains to be seen how will Google cope with situations when all the indexed news come from the very same source (a company’s press release, for example).

Also, it would be interesting to see how will this move affect news agencies. Their content was not distributed for free to newspapers. Cutting down on duplicate sources might drive the online editions to cancel their contracts with the news agencies and,thus, cutting them from a nice source of revenue.

At present time Google hasn’t mentioned anything regarding the financial terms of the recent deal it made with the news agencies, nor did it say how it plans to cash in on the deal. Advertising seems to be the most convenient way at hand, but at present time the agency-provided content features no ads.

And last, one question: how come Reuters wasn’t made part of the deal?