Italian Regulators Expand Investigation to Google, Inc.

So much for hoping that Italian regulators would see how newspaper publishers were contradicting themselves. The probe into Google’s Italian news site is now expanding to Google’s main search engine.

Italian newspaper publishers are saying that Google is using their material to generate online advertising revenue on the News search site, then turning around and complaining that they’re not being indexed in Google’s main search.

There are so many problems with their argument. First up, the obvious problem with the complaint about Google’s News search. Call me crazy, but if you’re a newspaper, I would think you would want to be found on a site dedicated specifically to news.

Secondly, why is it ok to be found, via link, in Google’s main search but not on Google’s News search (also via link). If you purposefully opt-out of one search,

Thirdly, Google is a private company and can index however they want. Even if they were excluding newspapers who complained from the main search, too bad for those publishers. It’s a business and Google can run their algorithms how they please, whether other people like it or not. Of course, it would not be very consumer friendly to leave out major newspapers from their index. So, Google would have to risk looking like they have a crappy search engine if major publishers were indeed omitted from the search results.

Last but not least, if they’re going to go after Google for News Search, why not go after all engines that provide news search or sites like Techmeme that aggregate headlines? The very act of investigating Google proves how much news search is worth to the newspaper industry. Punishing Google will only make it worse for everyone involved. Let’s face it, print newspapers are never going to trend back in.

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