Google Says European Law Does Not Support Mosley Lawsuit To Censor Search Results

Google Europe Yesterday, Google posted a plea on their Google Europe blog asking European courts to dismiss a lawsuit filed by former Formula One president Max Mosley. The lawsuit requests that Google build a filter to identify and block what Mosley claims is unlawful content. A report on Bloomberg.com claims Mosley's lawyers filed a suit in a French Court, asking Google to create filters that could identify and remove content referencing "Nazi-themed" sex parties in association with Mosley.  A lawsuit has also been filed in Hamburg, Germany. In response to the lawsuit, Google's associate general cou [...]


With Amazing Chutzpah Google Claims It Can’t Be Sued In UK Courts

Google legal Last year Google was embroiled in controversy over its circumvention of the Safari browser's cookie-privacy settings (on the iPhone and beyond). As a result the company paid a $22.5 million fine to settle the case with the US FTC approximately a year ago. The FTC summarizes the facts that lead to the settlement: [F]or several months in 2011 and 2012, Google placed a certain advertising tracking cookie on the computers of Safari users who visited sites within Google’s DoubleClick advertising network, although Google had previously told these users they would automatically be opted out of [...]


German Publishers Opt-In To Google News — For The Moment

Google legal Following the enactment of a controversial copyright law in Germany, Google said that it would require publishers to formally "opt-in" to Google News or be excluded from results. Accordingly major German publishers have decided to do so -- for now. The new law, which went into effect today and gives publishers almost total control over the use of their content, still allows news aggregators and search engines to show “single words” and modest “text excerpts” but creates legal uncertainty and potential liability for those who misinterpret the rules. What qualifies as a "text excer [...]


Google’s PR Problem Is Bing’s Opportunity

Google has a PR problem. No, I don’t mean PageRank. I’m talking about the original definition of PR – Public Relations. And, it’s maybe less Public Relations than it is Webmaster Relations. You see, Google hasn't done a good job of balancing content about problems with content about successes and improvements. They haven't really needed to -- with 70% market share of search, there wasn't a competitor in sight. But, as Bing gains market share (both in general and through their partnerships with FaceBook and Siri), Google is going to need to pay more attention to their communi [...]


Infographic: The Matt Cutts Debunking Flowchart

matt cutts featured Officially, Google distinguished engineer Matt Cutts heads Google’s web spam fighting team. Unofficially, he’s Google’s chief debunker. If someone seems to be talking crazy about Google, Matt may turn up with a polite clarification. When does Matt react? This is Search Engine Land’s guide, based on years of observations (you can click to enlarge it). Origin Of The Flowchart This flowchart originally appeared two years ago, on May 31, 2011. I was delivering on a promise I once jokingly made to Matt, that I would outline his debunking process as I'd observed it from afar to work. [...]


EU Says More Google “Concessions” Needed Before Antitrust Settlement

google-eu-featured The vigorous lobbying efforts of Google critics FairSearch.org and Foundem's SearchNeutrality.org seem to be paying off. Earlier today EU Competition Commissioner Joaquin Almunia told members of the European Parliament that additional "concessions" would probably be required of Google to settle the antitrust investigation against the company and avoid litigation and potential financial penalties. According to Reuters, Almunia said the following: After [all the settlement proposal feedback is received] we will analyze the responses we have received, we will ask Google, probably, I cannot an [...]


German “Ancillary Copyright” Law To Go Into Effect, Imposes Limits On Search Results

Google legal According to a report from IDG News, a "toned down" version of an earlier, more restrictive "ancillary copyright" law has been published in Germany and will go into effect in August. The ”ancillary copyright” rule was proposed in August of 2012. In its initial form it would have required Google and others that indexed or aggregated news to pay for links or excerpts from those news items -- essentially a "link tax." The law was pushed by German magazine and newspaper publishers that see the Internet and Google, in particular, as the cause of many of their subscription, readership and [...]


Google Ignites Controversy By Using “Palestine” On Homepage

Google "Palestine" Google has been at the center of heated geo-political controversy before, usually around disputed place names or borders on maps. A new controversy, however, has arisen about one of Google's international homepages: Google.ps. That's the page previously dedicated to the "Palestinian Territories." On May 1 Google dropped "territories" and now calls it "Google Palestine." This move follows UN recognition of the Palestinians last November as a "non-member state." The name change was condemned by Israeli authorities immediately after it happened. According to the Jerusalem Post D [...]


Google’s New European “Antitrust” Search Results: Here’s What They’ll Look Like

EU Flag I've found documents associated with the Google-EU settlement proposal that offer mock-ups of how the new, regulated SERPs will look. It's very interesting and greatly clarifies the settlement terms and how they will be implemented practically. These mockups look quite different (and less "disruptive") than what I imagined. There are three basic scenarios: where Google sees direct monetization from the SERP, indirect monetization in the vertical or no monetization (e.g., News in Europe). In each case the presentation and the rules will be slightly different. The screens below are all mock- [...]


EU Goes Public With Google Antitrust Proposals, “Market Test” FAQs

google-eu-featured The EU released documents this morning that detail Google's antitrust settlement proposals and explain the Competition Commission's position on various aspects of the investigation. First here's what the EU says Google has proposed: Google offers for a period of 5 years to: (i) - label promoted links to its own specialised search services so that users can distinguish them from natural web search results, - clearly separate these promoted links from other web search results by clear graphical features (such as a frame), and - display links to three rival specialised search services c [...]


Is Google’s Antitrust Settlement Offer To Europe Dead On Arrival?

google-eu-featured The European Union has "accepted" Google's formal antitrust settlement proposal -- subject to "market testing." As a practical matter, that means EU Competition Commissioner Joaquín Almunia is circulating it among Google's critics and competitors for reaction. However, there has already been plenty of (negative) reaction based on the information that came out last week in news reports. That leads to the question: is Google's settlement proposal dead on arrival? And if so, what will Almunia and the Europeans do? Is litigation inevitable? The issue that Google's competitors and critics ca [...]


German Privacy Regulator Fines Google Over Street View Data Collection, Calls For Tougher Financial Penalties

street-view-car-featured A fine of 145,000 EUR (roughly $189,000) is trivial for Google. But that's close to the maximum fine allowed by German law ($150,000 EUR). The fine is being imposed on Google for violations of German privacy and data protection laws stemming from the so-called "WiSpy" episode in 2008 - 2009 in which Google collected private emails and other personal data via its Street View cars and their efforts to map Wi-Fi locations around the world. Google was fined 100,000 EUR by French authorities for the same violations in 2011. These amounts are insignificant to Google, which just posted quarterl [...]


Google’s EU Antitrust Settlement Includes Labeling, Mandatory Competitive Links And Third Party Enforcement

google-eu-featured The proposed terms of the Google antitrust settlement in Europe have started to come to light, first through a report in the Financial Times, and this weekend, in articles from the Wall Street Journal and New York Times. As anticipated, the primary "remedy" Google is offering involves labeling its own results to distinguish them from third-party publishers. Yet, there are some new twists and nuances that have not been discussed or disclosed before. They involve third-party enforcement and presentation of competitive links as alternatives to Google's own content. Apparently, the settle [...]


Google (Finally) Gives EU A Formal Settlement Proposal As UK Mapping Rival Files Anti-Competitive Suit

google-maps-iphone-icon Google has formally submitted its antitrust settlement proposal to the EU. Wait, didn't that happen weeks ago? Apparently, it did not. While the parties have been talking for months (seems like years), Bloomberg reported today that Google had "formalized" its settlement proposal to avoid potential fines and other penalties. EU Competition Commissioner Joaquin Almunia is now going to "market test" Google's proposal. What that means as a practical matter is that he will circulate the proposal among Google's critics and rivals for feedback. No doubt, they will be dissatisfied because Googl [...]


EU Leans Toward “Labeling” To Resolve Antitrust Claims Against Google

google-eu-featured Those hoping for aggressive regulation or changes in the way Google conducts its search business in Europe will likely be disappointed. A new interview with EU Competition Commissioner Joaquín Almunia hints at settlement proposals and remedies now being considered in the Google antitrust case. And, they will probably look a lot like what came out of the FTC earlier this year. The interview, published in a New York Times article triggered by the filing of a new antitrust complaint over Android, offers some insights into the state of settlement negotiations between Europe and Google. The [...]


Google’s Mapping Contest In India Creates Uproar

india-flag-map Google has run up against some of India's restrictive laws in the past, most notably in the context of vague and expansive censorship rules for content and search results. A new episode involves a crowdsourced mapping contest run by the company to obtain data for Google Maps. According to the Wall Street Journal (WSJ), Google ran a "Mapathon" contest in February and March offering prizes in exchange for information about local places, facilities and businesses: The Internet company invited amateur mappers as well as mapping enthusiasts to add local information through its Google Map Make [...]


Yes, Google Says It’s Having Problems Listing iTunes Preview Pages

Apple Google Logos Yes, it is harder to find pages to iTunes apps in Google. But no, the company says, it's not part of some nefarious plot. Rather, Google's having technical problems gathering iTunes Preview pages, an issue it's working to solve. Google has confirmed the issue, saying: We've been having some issues fetching pages from the iTunes web servers, and as a result some people may have had problems finding iTunes apps in search easily. We're working with the team there to ensure search users can find what they're looking for. In particular, the head of Google's web spam team Matt Cutts, said on Tw [...]


Microsoft “Research” Discovers The Obvious In Renewed Anti-Trust Attack On Google

microsoft-google-fight-featured Did you know that the higher a site is listed in search results, the more traffic that site is likely to receive? If you're a search marketer, or anyone with a dose of common sense, you do. But Microsoft had research conducted to yet again prove this point, in an attempt to influence the ongoing EU antitrust review against Google. Microsoft's Hired Gun Does Research In a Microsoft blog post today, Susan Athey, a Microsoft consultant and professor of economics at Stanford University's Graduate School of Business, writes about how she worked with those from Microsoft's Bing search engine to c [...]


Open Letter To EU Competition Commissioner Exerts Pressure For Tougher “Vertical Search” Settlement With Google

google-eu-featured Late last week, a group of Google critics, rivals and complainants sent an "open letter" to EU competition commissioner Joaquín Almunia asking him to focus on the "vertical search" or "search neutrality" dimensions of the Google antitrust case. The letter says, essentially, that of the "four areas of concern" raised by the EU over Google's business practices, this is the only issue that really matters. The letter asserts that the EU must address "Google’s search manipulation practices" in the form of "the systematic promotion of Google’s own services, and the systematic demotion [...]


Google Flight Search Takes Off Around The Globe

google-flight-search-featured Google's flight search tool had been limited to a few markets in the US. As such, it was of limited value. But last week, the company expanded flight search internationally to include 500 airports outside the US. (See postscript below below for correction.) Flight search can also be used by people in other countries -- UK, France, Italy, Spain or the Netherlands -- to do research and initiate trip planning. In addition, Flight Search now comes in eight languages: English, French, Italian, Spanish, Basque, Catalan, Galician and Dutch and features local currency. Perhaps the feature th [...]


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