There’s a lot going on in the European search market. Starting today we will bring you a monthly update on Search Engine Land of European search news, with related links to the stories. Here’s what happened in August.
Google on fire. There was lots of buzz on Twitter when Google’s UK headquarters caught fire. The Googlers were apparently holding a barbecue. Somehow the grill went crazy. No one got hurt, but a lot of funny comments were made on Twitter and in blog posts (”Apparently Google employees searching for a fire extinguisher found 1.4 million results in 0.23 seconds” was one of the funniest).
The Loch Ness monster spotted via Google Earth? The ancient myth of the Loch Ness monster never ends, not even with the newest technologies. British tabloid The Sun showed images of Google Earth in which the Loch Ness monster can be seen. A big hoax without a doubt, but amusing.
Yahoo portal switches to… Google? When Yahoo made a deal with Microsoft, we assumed its search would universally be powered by Bing. Well, not in the UK. Yahoo decided to have the search engine of the online portal they run together with BT Broadband be powered by Bing’s biggest rival, Google. A strange move so it seems, but apparently BT Broadband was looking for the biggest reach and with Google’s more than 90% of reach in the UK the choice was apparently easy.
Italian regulators investigating Google. Italian authorities are investigating Google after publisher complaints that the search giant is abusing its dominant position. The New York Times quotes Carlo Malinconico, president of the Italian Federation of Newspaper Publishers: the complaint is “about a ‘lack of transparency’ in Google’s search engine and Google News service, which compiles blurbs of news stories on the Web and provides links to them.” Danny Sullivan already ‘debunked’ the newspapers allegations here on Search Engine Land.
French can choose their Streetview favorites. Which sites should Google include first in its “streetview” photos? The Brits chose Stonehenge, the Czechs and Dutch selected an amusement park as the first place Google should go to take pictures for Streetview. Now the French get to choose. Google teamed up with the local tourist organization, Asset France, allowing citizens to make suggestions on a form on services.google.com. The most popular items will be photographed first for Streetview.
Swiss privacy commissioner says no to Streetview. Google has only recently included Streetview images for Switzerland. For example, you can drive around Lake Geneva. But if Swiss privacy commissioner Hanspeter Thür gets his way that is not going to be possible for very long. He believes that Google’s photos are against the Swiss privacy laws because Google hadn’t blurred license plates and peoples faces enough. Apparently a member of parliament, Ruedi Nose, was found and recognized on Streetview, accompanied by a lady, which turned out to be his assistant…
Google Streetview gets Tate pictures. Google has announced that the Tate Museum of Art is the first cultural partner in the UK for the launch of Google Maps Street View. Google and Tate will be working together in bringing art closer to the public. Seventeen historically significant paintings will be integrated into Google Maps.
Europeans opposed to Google book settlement. Several European countries including Spain, Germany, Austria and Switzerland are encouraging their authors to back out of the deal with Google to start digitizing their books. They are concerned that copyrighted books which are still being sold will become available online for free and offline sales might drop. The German government has apparently already hired an American law firm to see if they can prevent the deal from going through.
Google UK SERPs are going crazy; Cutts says don’t worry, be happy. UK SEOs are not happy with Google at this moment. In the last couple of months the SERPS have been flooded with irrelevant results from the US, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and even the Netherlands. A full story on this has been published here on Search Engine Land.
French Library makes a deal with Google. “Google has won” was the headline of the French newspaper La Tribune. And with that it responded to the deal between Google and the French Librarians Association “Bibliotheque National de France” (BNF). Google and Bibliotheque agreed on a deal in which Google will be digitizing and indexing 13 million book titles in the French Library in Paris. The deal is controversial because for the last few years the former president of the Bibliotheque, Jean-Noel Jeaneney has been fighting Google trying to stop the so-called “American imperialism.” Supported by then French president Chirac they tried setting up a European project, Europeana, which never was a big success.