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Google to block ads for content in Punjabi, Odia, Assamese and several other Indian languages, will hurt startups and media industry

Google has a list of supported languages. Though many Indian languages are there in the list, namely, Bengali, Gujarati, Hindi, Kannada, Malayalam, Marathi, Tamil, Telugu and Urdu (in alphabetical order), there are still several scheduled Indian languages missing from the list.

Google has announced a change in their publisher policy that will stop monetisation of content, web pages, and applications in languages that are currently not listed in their “supported languages”.

In an email sent to existing publishers on 30 September around at 10 pm IST, Google announced that from October 30 onwards, they will not allow new sites to be monetised using AdSense, Ad Manager and Ad Mob if they are not primarily on languages that they support.

The communication further stated that from 30 March 2020, they will not allow any sites, web pages and apps to be monetised using AdSense, Ad Manager and Ad Mob if they are in the unsupported languages. The date of the blanket ban on all existing pages, sites and apps was initially mentioned as 30 March 2020, which was a mistake. Google later sent a corrected email, confirming that the date will be 30 March 2021.

Communication from Google

Google supported languages list: Many scheduled Indian languages are missing

Google has a list of supported languages. Though many Indian languages are there in the list, namely, Bengali, Gujarati, Hindi, Kannada, Malayalam, Marathi, Tamil, Telugu and Urdu (in alphabetical order), there are still several scheduled Indian languages missing from the list.

Scheduled Indian languages like Assamese, Bodo, Dogri, Kashmiri, Odia, Punjabi, Manipuri, Santhali, Maithili and many others are not in the list of Google supported languages.

What would it mean for languages not supported by Google

Google’s announcement regarding monetising content means that many writers and professionals, startups and apps in the unsupported languages may miss out on monetisation. It would mean that an Odia blogger looking to monetise his blog or an Assamese webpage that has content in the Assamese language, or any mobile application in Dogri which aims to cater to users in that language, will not be monetised. It may mean a significant loss for language-based content creators who are planning to cater to regional readers or users.

Since this ban is applicable for mobile applications too, many app-based start-ups aiming to cater to users in these languages will be affected.

Google is a very powerful player in the digital world, enjoying a virtual monopoly in the digital ecosystem. Many revenue earning options depend on what Google decides. Small and medium publishers have simply no option but to depend on google for their earnings.

Existing websites in Odia, Punjabi, Assamese, and many other languages may suffer too

There are several mainstream media and entertainment, services websites in scheduled Indian languages like Odia, Assamese, Punjabi, Manipuri and other languages that are not supported by Google. The blanket ban that is announced by Google, though the date for which is not clear, may also suffer. Regional news websites, blog pages and websites catering to readers of these specific languages will no longer be able to monetise, get ads and earn money.

There are mobile applications who may have content in one of the unsupported languages. Google’s decision will mean they can no longer monetise, leaving such applications struggling to earn, maybe financially unviable.

Websites and pages can earn direct ads from the market, without using Google’s tools. But even then, Google’s Ad Manager is a very popular tool even for direct ads. So Google’s decision is set to render significant financial loss for a large number of content creators in the unsupported languages.

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