Germany’s justice minister accused Google of becoming a “giant monopoly” and threatening government action if it doesn’t become more transparent.
According to a Reuters report over the weekend, Sabine Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger shared her concerns about products like Google Earth and Google Books with the German magazine Der Spiegel:
“All in all, what’s taking shape there to a large extent is a giant monopoly, similar to Microsoft,” the minister said.
“My initial response is not to ban something or stop something. But I do want to create more transparency and ensure that users know what is going on with their data,” she added.
“I think the companies have an obligation here, and a lot of things ought to be improved. If that doesn’t happen soon we may have to take action as legislators.”
Reuters says a Google official in Germany responded by saying that “offering users full transparency was central to how the company operated and that it was constantly working to make improvements in this realm.”
This is hardly the first time Google’s been accused of being or becoming a monopoly. The M-word has been mentioned by opponents of the Google Book Search settlement, and Google pulled out of a search deal with Yahoo in 2008 in order to avoid a monopoly designation by the US government.
Two other Search Engine Land articles that were written last year offer more background on Google’s anti-trust/monopoly situation: