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Google Plans 1,000-Person Hiring Spree In Europe

Anyone concerned that Google’s growth will slow under Larry Page can probably at least put aside those fears with respect to the company’s headcount.  Outgoing CEO Eric Schmidt announced today that Google intends to hire 1,000 people in Europe alone.

eBay Pays $200 Million to Acquire Brands4friends [Update]
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Update: eBay just announced that it has completed the acquisition. 

German Government May Fine Businesses for Using Google Analytics
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How much do you rely on web analytics? Probably a great deal, and with good reason. It’s incredibly hard to get ahead online without looking at analytics and using that information to your advantage. Many of you probably use Google Analytics for this, but what if the government threatened to fine you for doing so? 

Google Street View Debuts In Germany
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Google’s had a difficult time launching Street View in Germany; over the past two years, there have been random outcries, more formal protests, and a first-of-its-kind opt-out program.  Finally, though, Google’s made it possible to drag Pegman over the country and view at least a few spots from the perspective of a pedestrian.

This move doesn’t constitute a full launch; the first batch of photographs just covers the town of Oberstaufen, a handful of traditional landmarks (including Berlin’s Victory Column and a public square in Dresden), and ten sports stadiums.

244,000 Germans Opt Out Of Street View
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Street View has at times seemed doomed in Germany, with politicians, privacy advocates, and lots of private citizens protesting the program.  Fewer than 250,000 people opted out when given the chance, however, which from Google’s perspective, is something of a victory.

Granted, 250,000 is a very large number, and Google’s only counted opt-outs from 20 cities in which it’ll soon launch Street View.  The trick is that opinion polls had indicated half (or more) of Germans didn’t like the idea of the program.

Germans Reject Street View In Large Numbers
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Anyone who’s been looking forward to browsing Google Street View images of Germany should prepare to encounter lots of blank or ultra-blurry spots.  A report’s indicated that hundreds of thousands of Germans may have taken advantage of an opt-out process that Google made available.

Google To Move Ahead With Street View In Germany
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Various complaints and privacy laws have in one sense failed to deter Google.  Today, the company made known that it will still roll out Street View in Germany, but it will also make an extra blurring option available to citizens who don’t want their homes or businesses to be visible.

German Official Cites Privacy Problems At Facebook
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Facebook might soon suffer a hit to its bank account – and more importantly, to its reputation – in Germany.  A data protection commissioner has begun formal proceedings, accusing the company of illegally obtaining and storing non-users’ email addresses.

Google Defies Regulators In Germany, Hong Kong
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Since Google first admitted that its Street View cars had collected private WiFi data, the company’s been quick to delete the data when asked.  But authorities in Germany and Hong Kong have asked Google to turn over the data, instead, and so far, Google has declined to cooperate.

YouTube Music Video Talks Break Down In Germany
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After more than a year of negotiations, talks between YouTube and a German group that represents musicians have broken down.  The group, GEMA, has demanded that YouTube block access to around 600 videos as a result, and hinted that other agencies could soon echo its call, too.

German Official Objects To Facebook Privacy Changes

Germany’s Federal Minister of Consumer Protection is not at all happy with Facebook.  Indeed, in a new open letter to Mark Zuckerberg, Ilse Aigner condemned proposed changes to Facebook’s privacy policy, and threatened to quit the social network if her concerns aren’t addressed.

Google To Offer Street View Opt-Out In Germany
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The back-and-forth over Street View in Germany has been fierce at times, with one Google representative recently hinting that the company intended to move forward as long as German authorities didn’t draft laws against the program.  But now Google’s given in a bit, offering people a way to keep their properties out of Street View from the start.

eBay-PayPal Tie-Up Draws Complaints In Germany
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This has not been a great week for American tech companies trying to do business in Europe.  First, Google got in trouble over allegedly anticompetitive search practices and its policy on Street View data retention.  Now, German antitrust authorities are looking at the way in which eBay has supported PayPal.

eBay

Google Rejects German Street View Concerns

German objections to Street View date back at least a year and a half, and by all accounts, Google still hasn’t come close to convincing the German government that the program is harmless.  Just the same, Google’s announced its intention to move forward with Street View in Germany within the next 10 months.

European Commission Clears Joint Venture To Fight Google
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For some time now, a sort of "Google vs. Everybody" situation has been developing in Germany.  The bad news for the search giant is that, as four online marketing agencies have prepared to team up, the situation’s continuing to take shape, and the European Commission is fine with it.

More Complaints Filed Against Google In Germany
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Life isn’t getting any simpler for the executives and lawyers who represent Google Germany.  This weekend, word spread that three complaints against the organization have been filed with Germany’s Federal Cartel Office.

German Justice Minister Likens Google To “Giant Monopoly”
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Germany’s justice minister is less than happy about the direction Google’s headed.  Sabine Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger thinks the search giant may become a monopoly, and she’s not of a mind to sit by while that happens behind closed doors.

European Online Holiday Shopping Off To Strong Start
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European online Christmas shopping season got off to a strong start this year in the U.K., France and Germany, according to a new report from comScore.

Visits to retail sites were up 18 percent during the first week of November compared to an average week during the prior two months, and increased even more throughout the month to reach a 41 percent growth rate during the week ending November 29.

France saw solid gains, resulting in the same 41 percent growth rate during the last week of November, while Germany showed slight lower growth at 16 percent.

Yahoo Signs Mobile Search Deal With O2 Germany

More than 15 million Germans should now have a little additional Yahoo in their lives.  Yahoo’s signed a mobile search deal with O2 Germany, and the American company’s search engine and a number of other services are getting promoted as a result.

YouTube Faces Formal Complaints In Germany

In about two weeks’ time, the two-year anniversary of YouTube Germany’s launch will roll around.  The site’s set to receive more legal documents than birthday presents, however, as it’s facing some formal complaints.

The distribution of copyrighted material is at issue, of course, and so is the (lack of) distribution of royalties.  What sets this situation a little bit apart from other ones is that a number of individuals -rather than just a money-grubbing organization or two – are involved. 

Amazon Sued Over Holocaust Denial Books
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The American Jewish Committee filed a lawsuit Friday against Amazon-Germany for selling books it says question the Holocaust and "trivialize" the Nazis.

The AJC says there are about 50 titles available on Amazon.de that question the Holocaust and promote Nazis.