Google’s France Problem, YouTube CEO Steps Down, Driverless Van Sets Record, Facebook Coupons, and Apple Edges Out RIM

In a world where 4-year-olds can be sued, and gunshots echo at the Korean border, we must look to business innovation for our comfort. Behold:

1. Google will be changing its advertising rules in France, following a settlement. Back in November of last year, Google had blocked the company Navx from buying search ads for Navx’s online maps designed to help drivers avoid speeding tickets. The French Competition Authority sided with Navx, though, and now Google has agreed to make “improvements and clarifications” in its AdWords system worldwide.

2. YouTube’s CEO Chad Hurley is stepping down from his post, instead taking an advisory role there. Google acquired YouTube back in 2006 for $1.65 billion, and Hurley announced that he actually had been transitioning to an advisory position for about two years. He’s already working on “other projects,” which will have to remain shrouded in mystery for now, since he didn’t say anything more.

3. A driverless van made it all the way from Italy to China, Marco Polo-style. Driverless cars, we know, are nothing new, but this one went on an 8,000 mile, three-month road trip.

4. Facebook may be about to launch a new “Facebook Deals” service, where users who “check in” to locations via location-based apps like Foursquare could be sent coupons.

5. According to a new study from Strategy Analytics, Apple has jumped into the top five manufacturers of phone handsets. In fact, it even edged out RIM, which makes BlackBerry, for the number 4 spot. The study is particularly remarkable, because it examines mobile handsets overall–not just smartphone handsets, in which Apple has always been a leader.DZ