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 [...]


An Easy Way To Check What Referrer Data Google, Bing Or Yahoo Pass To Your Secure Site

secure With the three major search engines migrating their default searches to secure search, over SSL/HTTPS, marketers and webmasters want to know what referrer and analytics data will be passed to them and what won't. The majority of Google is secure search, Yahoo yesterday defaulted all searches to be conducted over SSL, and Bing is currently testing SSL search for those who opt in. Testing Referrer Data From HTTPS Search To HTTP URL The default protocol for passing referrer from an HTTPS URL to a non HTTPS URL is to not pass any referrer data at all. Both Yahoo and Bing comply with that, whi [...]


Yahoo Search Goes Secure, Taking Referrer Data — An Indicator Of Yahoo’s Popularity — With It

yahoo-featured By default, searches on Yahoo.com are now done through a secure server. That means more protection for searchers but less data for search marketers about how they are receiving traffic. Most visits from Yahoo done via search will appear as if someone came to a site directly. As a result, Yahoo's apparent popularity as a traffic driving source will appear to plunge. Yahoo also has left a loophole to keep sending search data to advertisers. Yahoo Makes Secure Search The Default is our story on Marketing Land with more details about the shift. In summary, it's still rolling out and by M [...]


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 Wants More Search Concessions, Google Defies French Authority

Google Europe Round and round she goes. The European Commission is seeking a final round of "concessions" from Google in an 11th hour effort to settle potential antitrust claims against the company. EU Competition Commissioner Joaquin Almunia made public statements asserting that Google needs to deliver additional, revised proposals within weeks to avoid a formal antitrust proceeding. What we have now is a kind of high stakes game of chicken. For well over a year there has been a very public back and forth between Google, the European Commission and Google's rivals, who object to the various proposals [...]


VA Court Delivers Blow To Yelp, Free Speech Of Users

Yelp logo A Virginia state court of appeal has ruled that Yelp must disclose the real identities of seven individuals who posted anonymous, critical reviews of an Alexandria, Virginia carpet cleaning business, Hadeed Carpet. Yelp and free speech advocacy groups have decried the decision. Hadeed said that he didn't believe that any of the reviews came from actual customers and sued to get Yelp to reveal the identities of the individuals in question. Yelp refused and the court granted Hadeed's lawyer's motion to compel. Yelp appealed and the appellate court affirmed the lower court's ruling (full o [...]


DuckDuckGo Has Biggest Day Ever In 2014 With More Than 4 Million Queries On January 7th

duckduckgo-featured The Guardian reported yesterday DuckDuckGo, the search engine that keeps user searches private, is now up to four million queries per day, with over a billion queries performed on the anonymous search engine during 2013. Prior to the PRISM scandal that revealed the NSA was regularly tracking searches on major search engines, DuckDuckGo averaged approximately 1.5 million queries a day says the Guardian. "In the weeks and months following the Guardian's publication of the NSA files, the number of [DuckDuckGo] users more than doubled," writes Guardian reporter Alex Hern. The Guardian claims [...]


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 [...]


Google’s Latest Transparency Report Shows Rise In Content Removal Requests From Russia & Turkey

google-transparency-report Google announced today it has released its eighth Transparency Report since 2010 when the search engine began providing data on government requests to remove content. According to the latest Transparency Report covering the first half of 2013, Google saw a "significant" increase in the number of requests from Turkey and Russia, with Russia's requests to remove content more than double the number of requests the country filed throughout 2012. For the US, Google says it saw a 70 percent increase in the number of content removal requests compared to the second half of 2012. The site receive [...]


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 [...]


The Test Begins: Do Google Shopping & Other Shopping Search Engines Give You The Best Deals?

google-shopping-products-featured It sounds pretty damning. Two recent surveys suggest that Google Shopping isn't leading searchers to the best prices on products. But the surveys weren't well documented, nor did they include competitors like Bing, Shopzilla, PriceGrabber and Nextag, which have similar issues. So, Search Engine Land will be running its own fully documented tests. Every few days, we'll search for an item and show what we found, starting with today's test, a search for a toaster. Testing For The Low Price Vs. Featured Price This is a long story. It's designed to be that way so that people can understand ex [...]


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 [...]


Google Maps Makes Exception & Speeds Up Process To Replace Image Of Shooting Victim

Google maps icon Google Maps is making an exception to its process for reviewing image removal requests, and speeding up the actions needed to replace a satellite image of a 14-year old shooting victim. Following a story broadcast on KTVU-TV, a CNN affiliate in Oakland, California and a report on CNN.com, Google claims it will take approximately eight days to remove the image of the 2009 crime scene involving the slain teenager. According to an update on the story from CNN.com, vice president of Google Maps Brian McClendon released the following the statement: Our hearts go out to the family of this young [...]


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 [...]


Google Claims Government Requests For User Information Have Increased Over 100% Since 2010

google-transparency-report Google released an updated Transparency Report today, claiming government requests for user information have increased more than 100 percent since it began posting transparency reports in 2010. According to Google, this is the eighth update to its transparency report in the last three years. Google said the climb in requests is in part a result of an increase in the number of governments wanting information, "More governments have made requests than ever before. And these numbers only include the requests we're allowed to publish." The top three governments requesting information between [...]


French Court Orders Google To Remove Max Mosley Images From Search Engine Results

Google logo After making a public plea for the European courts to dismiss a lawsuit filed by former Formula One president Max Mosley, Google found out today the French court has ruled in favor of Mosley and is forcing the search engine to censure search results. According to a report on Reuters.com, the French court has ordered Google to, "Remove and cease, for a period of five years beginning two months after this decision, the appearance of nine images identified by Max Mosley in the Google Images search engine results." To keep the images in question from showing up in search results, Google says it [...]


Don’t Want Your Searches Encrypted? Add ?nord=1 To Your URL Parameters

Google logo Not interested in having Google encrypt and secure your searches for some reason? Well, now there is a way to stop Google from forcing you to search using Google SSL search, as it made everyone use last month. All you need to do is add ?nord=1 to the Google URL parameter. For example, searching Google for SSL would bring you to this secure URL. Trying to remove the https in front of it, will still bring you to the https version. https://www.google.com/search?q=ssl But if you add ?nord=1 and drop the https, the URL will stick on the non-SSL version. http://www.google.com/?nord=1#nor [...]


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