inactivist - 4:05 pm on Mar 17, 2010 (gmt 0)
I suspect this investigation by Italy will lead to nothing. And I don't expect Google to change its policies. But on the off chance that it *does* go Italy's way, Google will just fire the Italian publishers. And the Italian advertisers will have a fit, and probably get the ruling overtuned.
I agree that it's unlikely anything will change as a result of Italy's actions.
Q: What does an 800 lb. gorilla do?
A: Whatever it wants.
Just in case anyone's wondering, I'm squarely on the side of those who point out that webmasters can opt out whenever they like, that we don't have to participate, and therefore, we volunteer for the treatment. I do not support these kinds of lawsuits. And I am fully aware of the 'one-sided' nature of my relationship with Google.
But I'm also aware that Google is pretty much unstoppable right now, and to think that Google's going to change its modus operandi seems a bit naive.
For all I know, Italy's trying to put the squeeze on Google. In which case, you can expect some kind of back-room deal to 'make it go away'.