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Best columns: Web watching, Google's gobbling
&ldquo;NBC&rsquo;s boffo TV ratings,&rdquo; says the <em>Los Angeles Times</em> in an editorial, suggest that streaming the Olympics over the Internet actually boosts TV viewership. Google has a reputation as an &l
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or TV, the Internet is not a foe

NBC paid an “exorbitant” sum for the right to broadcast the Beijing Olympics on TV, says the Los Angeles Times in an editorial, but for the first time it’s also streaming the games over the Internet. And despite NBC’s Web-viewing restrictions, and those imposed by the International Olympics Committee, “avid sports fans” have been able to find and share video of the games online. “Is that a bad thing for broadcasters? NBC’s boffo TV ratings suggest the opposite.” NBC is getting more Web traffic a day than it did during the entire 2004 games, but lots more TV viewers, too. The lesson here is that the Web is actually “the route to more viewers, online and off.” If networks don’t take advantage of that, someone else will.

Google: start-up black hole

When a company sells itself to Google, says Farhad Manjoo in Slate, that “has never been considered selling out” among techies. But despite Google’s reputation as an “entrepreneur’s paradise,” many a start-up has walked under its umbrella never to be heard from again, or not in any recognizable form. Call it “the Google black hole.” Some of the problems are technical, like bringing the company into Google’s vast infrastructure. And Google argues that it transforms the companies for the better. But sometimes small companies are better left small. Fans of Digg were excited in late July when Google was rumored to be buying the site, but really they should be celebrating that it has walked away.

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