Home Your IT Home IT ACAP content protection protocol "doesn't work" says Google CEO
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A group of content owners and publishers have spent almost two years developing the Automated Content Access Protocol (ACAP) to enable providers of all types of content to communicate permissions information to search engines and the like, but the CEO of Google claims it is incompatible with Google's search engine technology.

Asked why Google was not supporting ACAP, Eric Schmidt told iTWire: "ACAP is a standard proposed by a set of people who are trying to solve the problem [of communicating content access permissions]. We have some people working with them to see if the proposal can be modified to work in the way our search engines work. At present it does not fit with the way our systems operate."

He denied that Google's reluctance to embrace the system was because it wanted as few barriers as possible between information and its search engines. "It is not that we don't want them to be able to control their information."

However, according to ACA, Google is trying to tell publishers they should be content with the current technology, known as robots.txt, despite having been closely involved in the development of ACAP to date. "From a practical point of view, ACAP has been the huge beneficiary of input, technical know-how and quiet wisdom of all of the major search engines, albeit in an 'informal' way," ACAP said.

ACAP questioned Google recently on its stance on ACAP at the Changing Media Summit in the UK and claims that Google spokesman Rob Jonas responded by saying that "the general view within the company is that the robots.txt provides everything most publishers need to do."

This is not good enough for ACAP. Chairman Gavin O'Reilly - also Chairman of the World Association of Newspapers - said in response: "It's rather strange for Google to be telling publishers what they should think about robots.txt, when publishers worldwide - across all sectors - have already and clearly told Google that they fundamentally disagree. If Google's reason for not (apparently) supporting ACAP is built on its own commercial self-interest, then it should say so, and not glibly throw mistruths about. CONTINUED

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Stuart Corner

 

Tracking the telecoms industry since 1989, Stuart has been awarded Journalist Of The Year by the Australian Telecommunications Users Group (twice) and by the Service Providers Action Network. In 2010 he received the 'Kester' lifetime achievement award in the Consensus IT Writers Awards and was made a Lifetime Member of the Telecommunications Society of Australia. He was born in the UK, came to Australia in 1980 and has been here ever since.

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