Amidst reports that the European Union’s Competition Commission is all set to charge Google in its antitrust investigations into Android, the American tech giant may well face yet another setback in the continent; this time relating to its popular news aggregation service – Google News. It’s been widely reported that news publishers in Europe have been unhappy with Google for publishing portions of their articles on its site. With many of them already turning to the European Commission with their collective complaint, the organization is currently deliberating on whether to impose a tax on all news aggregation services – including Google News – for carrying snippets of articles published by European publishing houses on their respective websites.
While quite a few well-known publishing houses such as Germany’s Alex Springer, have publicly come out against the American tech giant’s news aggregation service, the increasingly-vocal lobby in Europe now has a high-profile ally, according to reports coming out of the old continent on Tuesday. According to Bloomberg News, it is now the turn of Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp. to officially file a complaint against Google News adding fuel to the already raging fire on whether news such services help news publishers by directing more traffic to individual websites or hinder news publishers by allowing users to whet their news appetite by going through the excepts carried by such services on their own sites. According to a statement issued last month by News Corp. CEO, Mr. Robert Thomson, Google “routinely exploits its market dominance and has little appreciation of the commercial or social value of high-quality journalism”.
It’s worth mentioning here that Spain was reportedly the first country in the continent to push through a legislation which would have required Google to pay a tax to carry news snippets from third-party websites on Google News. The search giant, however, chose to shut down its news service in the country rather than pay the tax, leading to a lot of the publishers there losing a significant amount of web-traffic. That, however, doesn’t seem to be deterring others, as the new complaint from News Corp. proves. Meanwhile, neither Google nor News Corp. has made any official comment to the media on this matter.