States Threaten Action If Google Doesn’t Delist “Illegal Sites”

google-legal-cash-featured According to the Washington Post, 24 state attorneys general are trying to pressure Google to discontinue ads and the indexing of sites they argue teach or enable criminal activity. In particular, they continue to pressure Google to eliminate advertising connected to the sale of illegal or fake prescription drugs. The attorneys generals' complaints were initially aired in a December 2013 letter to Google General Counsel Kent Walker and then a follow-up letter sent in February 2014. The December letter lists the following complaints and concerns: These issues include: (1) Google's moneti [...]


Report: Google Now Master Of Lobbying, Backroom Dealing

google-legal-law-featured An article in the Washington Post asserts that Google has now become a master lobbyist and behind-the-scenes manipulator in Washington. It details the company's increase in campaign contributions and outreach efforts to influence legislators. The message of the lengthy article is that Google is now buying influence and policy outcomes that favor the company. Source: Washington Post There are numerous concrete examples cited for the idea that Google has manipulated policy outcomes or bought influence through contributions to individuals, third party groups or academic institutions. [...]


Google Gets Another Street View Privacy Fine — In Italy

street-view-car-featured It seems like each European country is taking its turn fining Google for some privacy infraction. This time, it's Italy and involves Street View. Google has reportedly paid a roughly $1.4 million (1 million EUR) fine. According a story in Reuters, the issue this time was the failure to clearly mark Street View cars during Italian street photography in 2010: The fine announced on Thursday relates only to vehicles not being labeled clearly enough. The watchdog has also reported to Italy's judicial authorities that Google accidentally captured fragments of electronic communications as part of [...]


EU Antitrust Chief Says Google Settlement Essentially Done

google-eu-featured Amid criticism from politicians and Google's critics, EU antitrust chief Joaquín Almunia has essentially said that the current version of Google's antitrust settlement proposal is a done deal. While he didn't rule out changes definitively he seems to think complainants' criticisms have been addressed. The current proposal requires Google to give up considerable screen real estate and branding to vertical rivals. Google's opponents want another "market test" (time for criticism and study of the proposal's potential impact). They also don't want to pay Google for placement in contex [...]


EU Settlement Nearly Done, Google Antitrust Drama Shifts To India

Google legal Although the Google antitrust settlement in Europe isn't final it appears we're in the final minutes of the final act. There still may be a surprise or two in store but we mostly know how this story is going to end. Now it appears the Google antitrust drama is shifting to India, where an antitrust investigation against the company is ongoing. According to a report in the Times of India, that country's competition authority, the Competition Commission of India (CCI), has the power to impose a fine of up 10 percent annual revenues, averaged over a three year period. That could mean up t [...]


German Design Firm Claims Willful Patent Infringement Over Google Earth

Google Earth A German design firm is claiming that Google and Google Earth have infringed its patent (USRE44550 E1) and is seeking triple damages under the notion that the infringement was intentional or willful. The firm, ART+COM ("ACI"), makes the following claims: The development history of Google Earth indicates knowledge and infringement by key Google employees Google Earth "bears remarkable similarities to ART+COM's commercial system, which was developed nearly a decade prior to Google's introduction of Google Earth" The claimed patent and method for rendering geographical objects (Terravis [...]


Google Publishes Full Text Of EU Antitrust Agreement

google-eu-featured This afternoon on its European Blog, Google's General Counsel Kent Walker exposed the full text of the company's third-proposed and tentatively accepted antitrust settlement agreement with European Competition Commissioner Joaquin Almunia. Almunia previously declined to make the full agreement available. The document, dated January 31, 2014, is quite long (embedded below) and contains extensive examples of how search results will look in Europe under the new agreement. There are the four areas that will see change or modifications, as summarized by Walker in his post: Changes to our A [...]


Will 11th Hour Objections Derail The Google-EU Antitrust Settlement?

Google Europe When the European Commission recently announced yet another antitrust settlement with Google the matter appeared to be coming to an end. This was the third proposed settlement from Google but indications from EU Competition Commissioner Joaquin Almunia suggested that it was essentially final and only formalities remained to approve it. Unlike the two previous settlement proposals, this one is reportedly not going to be subjected to a "market test" (formal review by rivals and critics) -- although the European Commission will be accepting comments, apparently. Google's critics immediate [...]


It’s Done: Google Settles Search Antitrust Case In Europe

Google EU Roughly a year after Google settled an antitrust investigation with the US Federal Trade Commission, Bloomberg is reporting that Google and the European Commission have reached a final settlement that would end the regulator's antitrust search investigation against the company. According to the report, "Google will escape fines or any finding by regulators that it may have discriminated against competing search sites." Google similarly escaped any significant fines or penalties in the US investigation. The heart of the controversy as it has evolved -- and the core of the settlement -- is [...]


Report: Google Close (Again) To EU Antitrust Settlement

Google EU The third time may be the charm. According to Reuters Google is (once again) "close to settling a three-year antitrust probe by European regulators after it offered 'much better' concessions" to the European Commission (EC). However Google has been here before. Two previous antitrust settlements were strenuously opposed and thus defeated by Google critics and competitors. As part of that lobbying campaign several sponsored studies were issued, which uniformly found the core of Google's settlement proposals -- prominently showing links to rivals' results -- would have little or no impact on [...]


Google May Be Forced To Pay $1 Billion To Patent Troll

google-legal-cash-featured A New York-based "patent troll" called Vringo, through its subsidiary I/P engine, successfully sued Google, Microsoft, AOL and others using two patents related to search advertising. The plaintiff won approximately $30 million at trial in 2012. Google was asked to pay $15.8 million of that amount. Yet plaintiffs were also seeking ongoing royalties, which the court has now awarded. Google was contesting the royalty and the company will likely now appeal the calculation, which is potentially massive. The math is confusing. However, as Ars Technia reports, the royalty amounts to ju [...]


German Courts Follow French Ruling & Order Google To Block Max Mosley Images In Search Results

Google Europe Google has lost another case in the Max Mosley lawsuit, this time in Germany. According to a Reuter's report, a German court has ruled Google is responsible for distributing scandalous pictures of the former Formula One president, and is ordering the search engine to block links to the images from appearing in search results. The lawsuit stems from a 2008 case Mosley won against the British tabloid News of the World for publishing photos of Mosley engaged in a sex party with prostitutes. Last year, Mosley filed a lawsuit against Google in France and Germany to keep the images from appearing [...]


Google Loses Again In AdWords Patent Infringement Case

google-legal-240px A judge has determined patent-holding company Vringo is entitled to additional royalties from Google in a patent infringement case involving Google AdWords. The order stems from a case brought by Vringo subsidiary I/P Engine in 2011 that claimed filtering technology used in Google AdWords violated two of its patents. A jury found in favor of I/P Engine, awarding it $30,496,155 and running royalty payments of 3.5 percent. The case is I/P Engine Inc. v. AOL Inc., 11cv512. Google claimed to have updated the AdWords system in May 2013 in such a way that the patents were no longer applicable [...]


Google Remarketing Ads Found To Violate Canadian Privacy Law; To Revamp Ad Review System By June

google-canada-featured Google has agreed to several concessions after an investigation by Canada's Office of the Privacy Commissioner found Google in violation of Canada's privacy rights for the use of sensitive health history in remarketing campaigns. The investigation began last January, when a man complained that his personal health history was being used for ad targeting purposes.  After searching for and visiting sites related to medical devices for sleep apnea, he was retargeted with display ads for those devices when he browsed the web. The Commissioner's office has agreed with the man that Google [...]


EU: Google Antitrust Concessions “Unacceptable” As Second Study Condemns “Rival Links”

google-eu-featured European Union competition commissioner Joaquin Almunia announced Friday in a Spanish radio interview that Google's second round of concessions in its current antitrust settlement proposal were "unacceptable." The main obstacle to settlement is still Google's treatment of competitors and its "own content" in "vertical search" results. Almunia was directly involved in negotiating the original settlement proposal with Google, which offered to put links to competitors' sites in a privileged position in search results. He seemed initially (and perhaps naively) surprised when it was almost imme [...]


Canada’s Competition Bureau Escalates Google Antitrust Investigation

Google legal Canada’s Competition Bureau (CCB) has indicated that it will proceed with a formal antitrust investigation against Google. The CCB had been engaged in a preliminary inquiry. A new CCB court filing requests a range of documents that will potentially show, according to the CCB, Google's alleged abuse of market power and anti-competitive behavior in Canada. The claims in the investigation are similar to those raised by the now concluded FTC investigation and the current European Commission investigation. The Financial Post in Canada first reported the action by the CCB. The filing assert [...]


Sponsored Study Argues Google’s “Rival Links” Don’t Drive Enough CTRs To Rivals

Google EU flag Google's original antitrust settlement proposal, negotiated with the European Commission, was attacked by Google competitors and critics as being a token concession to competition. Anti-Google lobbying group FairSearch.org sponsored a consumer study that argued Google's presentation of three “rival links” to competitors in search results did little to drive traffic to competitors' websites. In September Google presented a second settlement proposal that made new or additional concessions. The second proposal was immediately attacked as well. Now a second FairSearch-sponsored research [...]


Consumer Watchdog Says Google Shopping Costs Consumers, Complains To FTC

perfume-google-shopping-product-listing-ads Consumer Watchdog has lodged a new complaint about Google's "search monopoly" with the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC), this time saying Google Shopping results don't pass the sniff test. The group calls the way the search engine displays its Product Listing ads "deceptive and unfair", adding that Google Shopping's paid listings are price gouging consumers. In addition to competing shopping engines being shut out of top listings, consumers are "actually being harmed because the featured results from Google Shopping more often than not return higher prices than can be found elsewhere,” w [...]


French Court Orders Google, ISPs To Block Or Delist Video Sites

Google Europe The High Court of Paris recently decided that French ISPs and search engines (Google, Yahoo and Bing) must completely block access or remove 16 copyright-infringing video sites from their indexes and search results. The case was originally filed in 2011. The successful plaintiffs were several France-based film and TV trade associations, including L’Association des Producteurs de Cinéma and La Fédération Nationale des Distributeurs de Films. These groups represented a range of producer interests including American film studios. Below are the domains that Google et al must now complet [...]


Court Finds Google’s Book Scanning Is Fair Use: Highlights From The Ruling

google-books-featured Nearly ten years after it began and eight years after Google was sued over it, Google's program that scans books in order to make them searchable has been found legal. A judge found fair use, especially in that "Google Books does not supersede or supplant books because it is not a tool to be used to read books." The ruling by Judge Denny Chin found that the Authors Guild's claims that Google was massively infringing the copyright of books didn't hold up. Below, some of the key highlights from his ruling. The Background & Permission Needed To Scan? Most of the ruling covers the ba [...]


Get Our News, Everywhere!

Daily Email:

Follow Search Engine Land on Twitter @sengineland Like Search Engine Land on Facebook Follow Search Engine Land on Google+ Get the Search Engine Land Feed Connect with Search Engine Land on LinkedIn Check out our Tumblr! See us on Pinterest

 
 

Click to watch SMX conference video

Join us at one of our SMX or MarTech events:

United States

Europe

Australia & China

Learn more about: SMX | MarTech


Free Daily Search News Recap!

SearchCap is a once-per-day newsletter update - sign up below and get the news delivered to you!

 


 

Search Engine Land Periodic Table of SEO Success Factors

Get Your Copy
Read The Full SEO Guide