Rob Norman is CEO of Group M Interaction Worldwide. Perhaps then it’s appropriate that he uses the “M-word” — monopoly — in an AdAge piece about Google. Norman has been a critic of the Google-Yahoo paid search deal and has said several times that he thinks it will result in higher keyword prices.

In terms of the anti-trust implications of the Google-Yahoo deal, hearings will begin tomorrow in the US Senate subcommittee on antitrust, lead by Senator Herb Kohl. Simultaneously, numerous US states’ attorney generals are launching their own versions of that anti-trust inquiry at a more local level. Notwithstanding these investigations, states generally don’t have jurisdiction over anti-trust issues.

On another legal front, Viacom is now fighting with Google over YouTube employee viewing habits. The idea here is that if YouTube employees and management were uploading and/or viewing copyrighted material illegally on the site, that would go to their state of mind and theoretically be evidence that the site was lax, indifferent, or even hostile to copyright enforcement.

Google executives didn’t betray an apparent concern over these legal issues at the Sun Valley Media Conference this past week, at least in an article that appeared in the Hollywood Reporter and caused a stir for its implication that Google might be working (again) on a branded “GPhone.” The paragraph in question is fairly ambiguous and probably refers to mobile OS Android:

The trio of Google execs also used the opportunity to talk about the inroads the company is making with its own branded mobile phone as a replacement for the iPhone, as well as the Chinese market and how they’re treated there — and even Google’s in-house educational programs and the salaries and potential of teachers.

A GPhone will likely make its appearance at some point in the future, however.

Google co-founders Brin and Page are now at the top of the UK Guardian newspaper’s MediaGuardian 100 in the “under 40″ category (in terms of net worth).

CenterNetworks speculates that the Guardian’s parent might be a buyer for Digg after picking up PaidContent and its related businesses for a reported $30 million. CenterNetworks observes that Digg is running more mainstream media stories on its homepage, thus trying to get the attention of more traditional media companies who would potentially acquire it.

Finally, Eric Enge interviews Google’s Carter Maslan about some of the same contentious issues surrounding local ranking and listings that have come up on this blog and Mike Blumenthal’s blog in the past. (Here’s our recent email interview with Maslan.)

Many of the ranking and quality issues that are discussed in both interviews will be dissected and explored in detail at SMX Local-Mobile in less than two weeks.

Related Topics: Channel: Industry | Search Biz

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About The Author: is a Contributing Editor at Search Engine Land. He writes a personal blog Screenwerk, about SoLoMo issues and connecting the dots between online and offline. He also posts at Internet2Go, which is focused on the mobile Internet. Follow him @gsterling.

Connect with the author via: Email | Twitter | Google+ | LinkedIn



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