Bold ambitions bring troubles galore for Google in Europe

googleGoogle is apparently head-on into trouble in Europe! This week, the European Commission launched an antitrust inquiry into the alleged competition-thwarting practices of the Internet search giant; and an Italian court convicted three Google executives of violating the country’s privacy laws via a controversial YouTube video that showed an autistic boy being bullied by his classmates.

The new problems for Google come over and above the widespread criticism of the Google’s digital book-scanning project in France, and the company’s plans to launch its Street View service in Germany.

Noting that Europeans have “a much longer history” of pursuing such issues” vis-à-vis the Americans, Palo Alto attorney Gary Reback, who represents a group that opposes Google’s Book deal, said that the issues that Google is facing “are serious and they are not going to go away.”

Most of these issues depict the concerns of the European authorities over Google’s bold ambitions – its contentious privacy policy, its copyright protection and its disquieting dominance of the search market.

Commenting on the spate of troubles for Google in Europe, Siva Vaidhyanathan, a University of Virginia professor who is penning a book about the Internet search biggie, said that these instances contradict Google’s “naïve” belief that “the work it does will be celebrated everywhere.” Vaidhyanathan added: “Google is going to have to tread more lightly in Europe and around the world.”

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