Following a complaint filed by the Italian Federation of Newspapers Editors (FIEG), the Italian Antitrust Authority decided on 26 August 2009 to launch an antitrust investigation against Google Italy, which was subsequently dawn raided on 27 August. The proceedings relate to the website service Google News Italia, through which Google compiles partially shows news published by other online journalists. According to FIEG, by publishing news from other online journalists, Google News Italia undermines the possibility of those journalists attracting users to their own websites and selling online advertising space. Moreover, the journalists receive no compensation for the use of their news on Google News Italia and have no way of choosing whether or not a piece of news is included on Google News Italia. In fact, were the journalists to choose not to be included on the Google News page, they would also be prevented from appearing in Google’s search engine. The investigation was extended to Google Italy’s parent company Google, Inc. at the beginning of September.
The antitrust investigation will now look at whether, taking into consideration its dominance in the search engines sector, Google's behaviour has a negative impact on competition in the online advertising market, with the further effect of consolidating Google's position as an online advertising intermediary.
A first reaction by the press office of Google Italy is that Google News Italia takes users to external websites, rather than away from them. However, the Italian Antitrust Authority does not appear to accept this argument, as the Authority’s President, Mr Antonio Catricalà, has recently declared that the investigation might lead to heavy fines and he has urged Google to begin talks with publishers. Google has already adopted this approach in the US and in other countries where it is considering the option of compensating the publishers for the use of their news on Google News website.