Google Under Attack: Battered By Brazil and the EU


It hasn’t been the best of weekends for Google, with the search engine giant suddenly finding itself backed into a corner by angry publishers in both Brazil and the EU.

Google’s biggest problem seems to be in South America, where it’s made an enemy of Brazil’s mass media. Claiming that Google’s news service is costing them traffic, more than 100 of the top Brazilian newspapers and media outlets have joined forces and declared that they’re going to block Google News from using their content from now on.

Brazil’s National Association of Newspapers (ANJ), a grouping of some 154 publications, unanimously agreed to dump Google News, after the internet company apparently refused to pay them for the content it uses.

Carlos Fernando Lindenberg Neto, President of the ANJ, explained:

“Google News is benefiting commercially from the content it uses and is not prepared to discuss a model of remuneration for this material.”

“Staying with Google News was not helping us grow our digital audiences – on the contrary, by providing the first few lines of our stories to internet users, the service reduces the chances that they will look at the entire story in our websites,”

The ANJ claims that its member’s readership has fallen by approximately 5% due to Google News, because by publishing the headlines and snippets from their articles, internet users are not bothering to click through to their actual websites.

Google, on the other hand, continues to insist that its service benefits the Brazilian newspapers – hence it is refusing to pay for the content it uses.

“Google News channels about a billion clicks to news sites across the world,” said Marcel Leonardi, Public Policy Director for Google. He added that Brazilin demands for payment were akin to a restaurant asking a taxi driver for money because he had delivered passengers there.

EU Gets Tough

Over in Europe meanwhile, Google is losing even more friends. Content providers in the EU are also demanding that the search engine giant pays for using their material.

Google is now being threatened with draft laws by Germany and France – neither of whom are on the greatest terms with them at the moment – that would see all publisher’s content licensed.

In this case, Google’s response has been aggressive, with the firm threatening to block French news sites from its search engines altogether if the French government demands that it should pay for the content it uses. France replied rather ominously that ‘threatening democratic governments’ was not a good idea.

The latest ire against Google comes just days after it was ordered to make changes to its privacy policy by the French watchdog CNIL within four months – or face the threat of unspecified ‘disciplinary action’.