The head of the European Commission’s competition policy has given Google until July 2 to amend its search results and advertising rules or face litigation and potentially massive fines, according to The Guardian.
Google, which hosts some 90 percent of European searches, received a letter from the EC’s Joaquin Almunia detailing concerns over Google’s dominance.
Google responded by saying that it is happy to answer questions about its business.
This is but the latest legal issue for Google in Europe. The company has had to deal with complaints about YouTube in Germany and France, while the UK and Germany said last month that they might go after Google on data collection.
Google and China
On Thursday Google unveiled a new feature for its Chinese search engine that should add yet another chapter to the ongoing saga between Google and China.
Google’s search service in China will now notify users when they are using terms likely to draw the ire of censorship authorities. Taking it a step further, Google will suggest alternative terms to circumvent the Great Firewall of China.
The company announced the new search feature in a blog post. Rather than instigate, the post is written in the language of “systems,” “users reports” and “particular subset of queries.” People who search for terms that “may cause connection issues” will be prompted to revise their queries. This, Google hopes, will “reduce these disruptions and improve our user experience.”
The post goes on to say that U.S. engineers reviewed the 350,000 most search-for terms in China. They then identified disruptions and pinpointed the terms that were causing the problems.
Foreign Policy magazine had a nice lengthy article about the changes.
Nokia Returns Fire at Google
Back in Europe, Google is neck-deep in legal proceedings.
Google on Thursday filed an antitrust complaint against Nokia, charging that the Finland-based company was colluding with Microsoft.
Nokia quickly took exception, according to Reuters, firing back that some devices which run on Google-made Android were actually infringing on Nokia’s patents. Tit for tat.
In its formal complaint to the European Commission, Google claimed that Nokia and Microsoft transferred more than 1,000 patents to MOSAID, which Reuters describes as a “patent troll” — that is, a company which makes money by zealously pursuing legal actions on infringement claims.
Nokia’s patents, which earned the company more than US$600 million per year from royalties, are particularly valuable to the company because of its depleted share in the mobile device market, according to Reuters.
Porn Maker to Crack Down on Illegal Sharing
Porn producer Ben Dover Productions will start notifying people it suspects of illegally sharing its films, according to the BBC.
In March, Ben Dover Productions won a court order which forces telecommunications provider O2 to disclose details about owners of certain IP addresses — more than 9,000 of them — which have been linked to illegal downloads, according to the BBC.
Recipients of the letters will be notified about how to negotiate a settlement, and will be warned that they could be found liable if they don’t respond. The exact wording of the letters, which requires court approval, has not yet been inked.
This is but the latest in a Europe-wide clamp-down on online piracy. Recently, Internet service providers in the UK, Greece, the Netherlands and Italy have been ordered to restrict access to certain file-sharing sites, namely The Pirate Bay.
A Ben Dover spokesman said that while piracy afflicts a handful of business, the adult film industry has been hit especially hard.