Google often extols how its ever-growing number of Search features make it easier for users to immediately see the answers they’re looking for. Business and site owners, however, are sometimes left shaking their heads every such new feature is announced. Some dread the loss of click-throughs to their sites. Others, like lyrics site Genius, are up in arms over how Google is allegedly lifting lyrics from its service without proper credit or, worse, making users click through to their ad-supported website.
Like many sites that depend on page views, visitor counts, and the like for some revenue, Genius depends on Google Search to direct surfers to their website. In recent years, however, some site have noticed a steep decline in visitors from search. That’s because Google allegedly already surfaces information from these sites and, according to some owners, even uses content produced by those sites bypassing their terms of service.
Genius, for example, says that Google Search results are showing lyrics to hard-to-decipher and less popular songs without taking viewers to their websites. This almost similar to what some news sites accuses Google before, presenting snippets of content lifted directly from their original sources. Genius even produced a special fingerprinting scheme to easily reveal and shame copy-pasters.
Google’s response to Genius is rather simple. It isn’t the one exactly providing the content but partners with other services for that purpose. Since 2016, that partner for lyrics searches has been Canadian LyricFind who denies sourcing their content from Genius. Nonetheless, Google promises to look into matters and would terminate agreement with partners found to be guilty of such actions.
It does, however, raise concerns about the hidden costs for Google Search’s convenient infoboxes. A cost that site owners, not end users, are paying.