In a move into the old-fashioned business of ink on paper, Google is going to start selling advertisements that will appear in the print editions of 50 major newspapers.
Googleâ€™s plan will give the publishing business a high-tech twist: the company will expand its computer system, which already auctions off advertisements on millions of Web sites, to take bids for newspaper ads as well. Hoping to reach out to a new crop of customers, such as small businesses and online retailers, many of the largest newspaper companies, including Gannett, the Tribune Company, The New York Times Company, the Washington Post Company and Hearst, have agreed to try the system in a three-month test set to start later this month.
For Google, the test is an important step to the companyâ€™s audacious long-term goal: to build a single computer system through which advertisers can promote their products in any medium. For the newspaper industry, reeling from the loss of both readers and advertisers, this new system offers a curious bargain: the publishers can get much-needed revenue but in doing so they may well make Google â€” which is already the biggest seller of online advertising â€” even stronger.