Google has thrown its toys out of the pram.
It has thrown a temper tantrum and decided to “boycott” a range of Belgian newspapers from its web search results.
Although the humongous baby says it was forced to take the measures following an impending court case, the Belgian papers have said the company was taking action as a means of retaliation.
The spat goes way back to 2006, when a range of Belgian newspapers claimed Google was not entitled to post links to articles on its news page without permission or payment. The courts ruled in their favour and despite Google appealing, the papers remained victorious – with another positive ruling in May this year.
According to La Capitale, the company began “boycotting” it last week.
It said Google searches showed no signs of any of the websites of the newspapers who sued it.
Google responded to the allegations claiming that it “had no choice but to block the papers from its searches”.
It said that it allowed the newspapers to appear on either Google News or Google’s index, it would “potentially” face fines of around $35,359 per infringement.
It added that, of course, it regretted having to do so and would be happy to work with the papers if they decided to “waive the potential penalties.”
La Libre, another paper which has fallen foul of Google’s antics, pointed out on Friday that the company had taken the orders out of context.
It said it’s necessary to distinguish Google search engine from the Google News service, and that the news editors did not oppose having their content referenced on the search engine.
However, it admitted that they did refuse their “informational content” to be included in Google News.