picture 13 234x300 Ad free Google News generates $100 million per year?Marissa Mayer at web 2.0 conference in 2006, picture from D Farber (CC)

Marissa Mayer, head of search products and user experience at Google, put a number on the site’s revenue during a speech at the Fortune Brainstorm conference earlier this week. Fortune editor Jon Fortt about the income model: “The online giant figures that Google News funnels readers over to the main Google search engine, where they do searches that do produce ads. And that’s a nice business. Think of Google News as a $100 million search referral machine”

It seems that Google News generates $100 million revenue per year, despite the lack of ads or an obvious revenue model. Google news has been a sensitive subject before, and Mayer might have put even more pressure on the legal team with her comments on revenue. Until recently, the Google legal team could argue that the site was not profiting from the service. The site is more liable for a court case since the site’s referring features turns out to be a cash cow for the search portal. (read more)