The New York Times asks–almost nonchalantly–Is Google a Media Company?
I’d ask the NYT: Why? Are you scared of the competition?
[Google's] Knol has been called a potential rival to Wikipedia and other sites whose content spans a broad range of topics, including Mahalo and About.com, a property of The New York Times Company that uses experts it calls “guides” to write articles on a variety of topics.
Reading the article, and those quoted, I can’t help but think that this is the NYT telling Google, "we’re watching what you do with Knol, and we’re ready to cry foul, if it hurts our business."
And, just in case the NYT can’t keep Google in check, it’s brought in the rather vocal Jason Calacanis:
“Google can say they are not in the content business, but if they are paying people and distributing and archiving their work, it is getting harder to make that case,” said Jason Calacanis, the chief executive of Mahalo, a search engine that relies on editors to create pages on a variety of subjects. “They are competing for talent, for advertisers and for users” with content sites, he said.
What’s not mentioned? A lot of those sites, worried about the Knol threat, are displaying Google AdSense ads. They wouldn’t even have a model for monetizing their content, if it were not for Google!