Search Month European Edition, December 2009

In Search Month European Edition we bring you a monthly update of European search news, with related links to full coverage. Here’s what happened in December.

Google fined $430,000 dollars in France. A Parisian court ruled that Google should be fined over $430,000 dollars because it has broken French copyright laws by displaying snippets of books in search results. Google said it would appeal the ruling.

Most Europeans don’t go past the first ten results. IAB Europe and InSites Consultancy performed research which shows European internet users rarely look beyond the first 10 search results. Those who do go past the first ten mostly (70%) stop after the first twenty results. The study was done in 16 European countries including the UK, Belgium, France and Italy and looked at a lot more than just search. It showed however that search engines play a big role in Europe.

Google “Living Stories” launching in Europe. Until recently Google’s service “living stories,” based on Fast Flip, was a purely US-based initiative. This month Google announced three UK newspapers have joined the experiment. Together with 50 other publications The Telegraph, the Independent and the Daily Express decided to adopt the experiment.

Google in a partnership with Mail.ru. Google is trying to gain more market share in Russia by working with Mail.ru. The deal will make Google get closer to Yandex, the biggest search engine in Russia.

“Google ads” in bus shelters in Russia. A group called “Ovoscham” placed remarkable ads in Russian bus shelters. The ads, which seem to be political, show what a Russian celebrity searching Google. The bottom text of the ads say “You can find it on the web, but can you find it in your country? Depends on you.”

Google most visited site in the Netherlands. Google is the most visited website in the Netherlands of 2009. Google.nl now reaches 97% of all Dutch internet users. YouTube came in second. The video website was last year only 16th in the list. Facebook is not yet on the list because the growth of Facebook in the Netherlands only started in the last months of the year.

French start scanning books themselves, might use Google. A couple of weeks ago French Culture Minister Frederic Mitterrand proposed France could start scanning their own books. Now French President Nicolas Sarkozy seems to agree. He promised over 750 million euros for scanning of French literary works, audiovisual archives and historical documents. This way France hopes to stay in control of their cultural heritage. Google is not out yet though. The reserved money will be spent on a partnership with a company which can do the digitization for the French, that company could well be Google.

Scotland Yard takes down 1200 websites using Google. Scotland Yard “Operation Papworth” is designed to protect consumers from criminals hawking fake wares using websites set up on .co.uk domains. Within this operation Scotland Yard used Google to take down 1200 websites selling fake designer clothing and jewelry. Seven of the top 10 results of the search on “ugg boots” were taken down. This term was popular amongst fraudsters. Over 400 websites caught were selling these boots.

British singer most watched video on YouTube in 2009. In the month where “zeitgeists” rule the blogs YouTube’s “zeitgeist” of 2009 showed Susan Boyle, a British contestant of Britain’s Got Talent, was the most watched video of the year.

Marissa Mayer; Search will become more and more personal. In Paris Marissa Mayer took the stage to talk to TechCrunch’s Michael Arrington. The talk was part of the social media conference LeWeb. In the talk Mayer suggested Google is mainly looking at personalization for the future. She also talked about mobile, newspapers, music search and real time search.

BBC might be getting more generous with their links. Getting a link from the BBC until now wasn’t too easy. BBC technology chief Erik Huggers however has hinted that the BBC might be getting more generous with their links. He said, “the corporation might do more to open up its site.” The change of behavior is said to be triggered by the fact the BBC is looking to build partnerships with other news organizations.

Dutch Ixquick aiming for full search privacy. Dutch search engine Ixquick tries to take advantage of privacy talks by announcing they will try to get closer to 100% privacy in 2010. The metasearch engine queries Yahoo, Bing and Wikipedia—but not Google. They already stopped gathering IP-addresses earlier this year and will be using a proxy in 2010 to ensure full privacy for its users.

French Yahoo employees go on strike. The closing down of Yahoo’s R&D site in Echirolles was the reason why French Yahoo employees went on strike. The closing would cost 78 people their jobs. The research center was only opened a year and a half ago. Yahoo started announcing layoffs early this year. Yahoo says it is “looking to consolidate its research and development efforts into fewer locations that are more easily managed.”

Yandex new Bing search ads provider. Yandex is now powering search contextual ads on the Russian version of Bing. Yandex.Direct advertisements are shown both above the Bing.com’s search results and on the right side. The ads come forth from a deal between Bing and Yandex which Yandex announced on their blog.

Google avoids $2.6 billion in taxes in UK. In the UK Google is huge, very huge. Last year it had £1.6bn advertising revenues in Britain alone. The company however used a cross-border network of subsidiary companies to ensure it did not pay any tax on this huge amount of money. All advertising earnings are moved to Ireland. This resulted in avoiding paying over 450 million pounds in corporation tax.

This news is brought to you by Searchcowboys, you can read more about these articles there. Searchcowboys covers the news of what is going on in search in Europe on a daily basis.

Opinions expressed in the article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Search Engine Land.

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About The Author: is a Web/search strategist, international search specialist, trainer, and well-respected blogger. Bas is well informed about what's going on in the world of Internet and search marketing worldwide and especially Europe. Bas is the owner of Stateofsearch.com and also posts regularly on his personal blog.

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