Sacrebleu! Google and French Government Butt Heads. Again.
Tensions are up again between Google and legislators in France. In a report on Search Engine Land, Barry Schwarz reveals the current disagreement between the search giant and the government of France, stating that Google has informed French policy makers that, instead of paying to list French news sites in Google News, Google will simply drop those listings.
The official letter, written in French, doesn’t appear to be written in such a direct tone. The letter describes how this proposal can hurt the internet as a whole, can hurt French readers and most importantly – hurt French publishers. Google says they send four billion clicks per month to publishers and 1 billion of those clicks comes from Google News. Google News is free, there are no ads on Google News, but yet Google has an AdSense program that paid out over $6.5 billion to U.S. publishers from in 2011. So Google believes they are doing their part in helping news publishers remain financially fit.
This is only the latest incident in a string of clashes between Google and France. in February of this year, the French court fined Google $660,000 over the price (free) of Google Maps, citing unfair competition against French companies. In December of 2011, Google France was ordered to pay $65,000 to an unhappy French company that took offense at Google’s Search Suggestions, and in twice in 2010 Google lost lawsuits to unhappy French citizens regarding the nature of some of Google’s Search Suggestions.So what do you think? Are all these French lawsuits frivolous, or should the search giant be held to higher standards, both in terms of the search suggestions, and also when linking to content? Let us know in the comments!