- Google has threatened to pull its search engine from Australia.
- The threat has been issued over a proposed media law.
- Australian govt has proposed Google pay news publishers for their content.
The standoff between Google and Australian authorities appears to be getting serious as the company has threatened to stop making its popular search engine available in Australia if a proposed law by the Australian government is brought into effect.
This proposed law has become such a flashpoint as it would see Google forced to pay news publishers for their content -- the first for the tech giant across the globe. The proposed law which will also see Facebook pay publishers is largely seeing a pushback from Google which has made its views on the matter clear.
Google's Australia managing director Mel Silva even told a Senate hearing earlier that the proposed news media law will be "unworkable", and the company is prepared to exit the Australian market. "If this version of the code were to become law, it would give us no real choice but to stop making Google Search available in Australia," Silva told the inquiry.
If it actually manages to go ahead with it this threat to disable its search function in Australia will come as a major statement by Google which sees billions of people daily throng to its search portal for answers to some of the most common queries.
Australian government responds
The Australian government itself has been very clear on how it plans to take things forward. Responding to Google's statements, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said the government would not respond to threats.
Talking to the media, he said, "Australia makes our rules for things you can do in Australia. That's done in our Parliament. It's done by our government, and that's how things work here in Australia... People who want to work with that, in Australia, you're very welcome. But we don't respond to threats."
However, Google has remained adamant with Silva describing the government's stance as the "worst-case scenario" while claiming that Google's statement on the matter is not a threat but reality.
"We have had to conclude after looking at the legislation in detail we do not see a way, with the financial and operational risks, that we could continue to offer a service in Australia... This provision in the code would set an untenable precedent for our businesses and the digital economy. It's not compatible with how search engines work or how the internet works," she said.
Google to pay news publishers in France
But even as Google fights the Australian government over the proposed media law, the company has come to a revenue-sharing agreement with the French Alliance de la Presse d'Information Générale -- an organization representing news publishers in France. As per CNBC, Google has accepted a process for paying news publishers on varied criteria including "daily volume of publications or the monthly Internet audience."
Reacting to the development, Sébastien Missoffe, Managing Director of Google France said, "This agreement is a major step for Google. It confirms our commitment to press editors within the framework of the French law on neighboring rights. It opens up new perspectives for our partners, and we are happy to contribute to their development in the digital age and support journalism."