Google Threatens French Media With Search Engine Ban

There is a potential storm brewing in France as the government and Google clash over proposed pay-for-content legislation.

Yesterday will not be remembered as a great day in Google’s history. As well as the vertiginous stock slide, which sliced 9% off its share value before trading was halted for a couple of hours, the search engine firm threatened war with the French media. L’horage dans le teacup is over a proposed law that will force search engines to pay for content.


The (somewhat protectionist) legislation is a popular one amongst French media and publishing firms, as they have been hit by falling circulation. Google has sent a (somewhat bombastic) letter to various ministries to voice its displeasure, claiming that the law would threaten the firm’s existence. “As a consequence, [Google] would be required to no longer reference French sites,” it states. Culture Minster Aurelie Filippetti, who is backing the proposals, told a news agency yesterday that “you don’t deal with a democratically elected government with threats.”

One piece of good news for the firm (apart from the fact that Larry’s got his voice back) was that it yesterday released its Chromebook. The $249 device, made alongside Samsung, is aimed at “everyone,” although Cloud aficionados may find the screen-ARM processor-what, you want more? combo-in-a-clamshell more useful than anyone else. The bad news, however, is that non-tablet/smartphone devices have still taken a bit of a hit thanks to the unbridled popularity of tablets and smartphones, with low sales expected for the first quarter of 2013.

About the author

My writing career has taken me all round the houses over the past decade and a half--from grumpy teens and hungover rock bands in the U.K., where I was born, via celebrity interviews, health, tech and fashion in Madrid and Paris, before returning to London, where I now live. For the past five years I've been writing about technology and innovation for U.S.