Google News Italia Probe Expands

    September 4, 2009

Google received a piece of bad news – and perhaps a laugh – today as we prepare to go into the long weekend.  Here’s the serious part: Italian antitrust regulators have decided to expand the focus of an investigation from the Italian version of Google News to the entire corporation.

Things began to heat up last week when an Italian newspaper federation claimed that Google would exclude papers from its normal search results when they opted out of Google News.  Google Italy’s offices got searched, and the concept of an $18.5 million fine was mentioned.

Now, according to an AGI article, Italy’s antitrust authority has stated, "On the basis of inspections by the authority, it has been found that the management of the Google News Italia service, currently under a preliminary investigation, was handled by Google Inc."

What brilliant detective work, right?  Sherlock Holmes has been reincarnated in Rome.

Still, given a choice between chuckling at obvious statements and not facing an inquiry, Google would probably pick the second option.  The fact that this investigation’s picked up speed in just one week isn’t a great sign.

As always, stay tuned, and we’ll report any updates.