Google Inc. (NASDAQ:GOOG) has been in so many disputes French and European Union authorities, that not only are key figures at Google on a first-name basis with EU and French government officials, but Google itself may be a four-letter word in Europe. But now it seems that Google is taking a step to make nice, at least with some grumbling French publishers.
Google Inc. (NASDAQ:GOOG) has always included “snippets” of news stories under the links to web sites on its search results pages. However, French publishers complained that they were losing traffic to their web sites because Google’s snippets were often just enough for people to read the news they wanted, and they wouldn’t click on the link to the news site that had the full story. As a result of that, these publishers were appealing to officials in several EU-member countries to crack down on Google, even going so far as to tax Google, or force the company to pay for access to the snippets. In retaliation, Google said it would stop indexing all French news sites on its search results.
After a couple months of negotiations, Google Inc. (NASDAQ:GOOG) has reached an agreement with the French government and the publishers which will keep the French news sites on Google Search results and take advantage of Google’s advertising machine to increase revenue, and Google agreed to give $82 million to a fund that would encourage digital publishing progress in innovation.
Google Inc. (NASDAQ:GOOG) CEO Eric Schmidt, who was in France to sign the agreement with French President Francois Hollande, wrote in a blog post, “Our search engine generates billions of clicks each month, and our advertising solutions — in which we have invested billions of dollars — help them make money from that traffic.”
Does a dispute with French publishers sound at all familiar?