Google threatens to omit French media from search

Google and the French Government are engaged in an ongoing battle over news results displayed in Google searches.

(Credit: Google)

The French Government is proposing a law that would require search engines to pay for news articles if they want to include them in query results, according to global news agency AFP. And Google has said that rather than complying with the law, it will simply omit French media sites from search.

In a letter sent by Google to a handful of government offices this month, which was obtained by AFP, the search giant said that it "cannot accept" the law's requirements, and "as a consequence would be required to no longer reference French sites".

Google wrote that it "redirects 4 billion 'clicks' per month towards the internet pages" of French media, and that paying for news links would "threaten [Google's] very existence."

The crux of the French Government's gripe is that it claims that Google is earning ad revenue by displaying news headlines along with a couple sentences from the article, according to The Verge, while news agencies are losing out on attracting advertisers, because readers aren't clicking through to the stories. According to AFP, leading French newspaper publishers are backing the proposed law.

When contacted by CNET, a Google spokesperson said, "It's not a secret that we think a law like the one proposed in France and Germany would be very damaging to the internet. We have said so publicly for three years."

Google is up to its neck in European legal claims on the way it does business. Most notably, an EU antitrust probe is investigating Google's consolidation of its many services under one privacy policy. Regulators believe that the search giant harms internet competitors by driving more traffic to its own specialised services. Earlier this week, the EU regulators announced that Google has four months to amend its privacy policy.


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ei_samus posted a comment   

The EU has gone a little crazy with it's regulations, sure some of them are good like requiring all phones to use micro usb for charging but generally for ever good piece of regulation there is a bad one, which is why it's usually better to the free market figure it out.

It would be pretty funny to see how long these rules would last, showing a headline and the first sentence is the equivalent to a movie trailer it's the best way to drive people to actually read the article, without the search results their sites would be a ghost town.


Chandler posted a reply   

Nevermind the fact that most of the traffic for said news sites is probably from people either clicking through articles in a search or searching for the site itself... through Google.

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