The big legal story of the week emerged from Europe, where the European Parliament decided to vote on whether to demand the breakup of Google. As the US government doesn’t agree on the need to split up the search engine giant from its other activities, the actual implementation of any outcome would only take place after extensive international trade negotiations. This Search Engine Land article draws attention to a New York Times investigation that revealed one of the main sponsors of the action has vested interests.
Events moved quickly on the Google breakup story and the European Parliament vote took place on the 27thNovember. The chamber voted in favor of the breakup. Although the motion is not enforceable, the European Commission is keen to follow the parliament’s instructions in all things so it can counter anti-EU critics who claim there is a democracy deficit in the organization. So, many legal battles are ahead for Google as it tries to muster its influence in Washington and get this move blocked.
Although Google is caught up in a series of legal battles over in Europe, it seems to have better luck in the US courts. This recent ruling affirmed Google’s right to use its own methods to order results. Poorly ranked sites can’t use their Yahoo or Bing rankings as evidence that they are being cheated by Google.
Back over on the other side of the Atlantic. Here is a case that Google’s legal team advised wasn’t worth the fight. So, they settled. A UK businessman was the victim of a campaign of malicious links, which is termed a “Google bomb.” Although Google maintains that they aren’t responsible for the content attached to the links it posts, it decided to comply with the plaintiff’s request and remove the links from its results pages rather than let the case reach a judgment and set a legal precedent.
Search Engine Round Table followed the above story and spotted a funny coincidence in the BBC news report embedded in the Search Engine Land article. The reporter stands in the street with a string of London buses passing behind him, all showing penguins. Anyone with a passing knowledge of SEO knows that one of Google’s main algorithm filters is called Penguin. So, at first glance this seems to be some extreme positioning by the search giant. However, the buses are advertising the release of the film “Penguins of Madagascar.”