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A Tough Week for Google: Antitrust Concerns and a Trespassing Lawsuit

December 2, 2010

Image by Sam Greenhalgh. Some rights reserved.

Google, these days, seems to be the company everyone loves to hate.  On Tuesday, the European Union launched a formal investigation into the company  after several competing search engines filed complaints that “Google’s search algorithm demoted their sites in Web search results because they were rivals.”  Google is cooperating but defends its honor, stating that it stopped using exclusive contracts two years ago; says a spokesman: “We built Google for users, not websites, and the nature of ranking is that some websites will be unhappy with where they rank.”

Further antitrust concerns have emerged regarding Google’s attempts to purchase discount coupon provider Groupon; though Google is reportedly offering to buy Groupon for $6 billion, experts say that if the web giant ends up under federal review, this deal could—almost—be more trouble than it’s worth.

Now Google has been found guilty in a case regarding invasion of privacy. Aaron and Christine Boring of Pennsylvania sued the company two years ago for taking pictures of their house for their Google Maps feature.  Though the case was initially thrown out, Google has, according to the Boring attorney, “conceded liability as an intentional trespasser.”  The damages?  $1.

All in all, quite a bit of controversy for a company whose mission is to “understand exactly what you mean and give back exactly what you want.”

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