The European Union is working on a variety of ways to knock U.S. based search giant Google down a peg, following the European Parliament's vote in favor of splitting the search engine from the main company.
One new idea suggested by German politician Günther Oettinger is a "Google tax" on copyright infringement (through its Google News service) and other taxes relating to search operations in Europe.
In an interview with The Wall Street Journal, Oettinger says “taxing is an option but not the decided solution,” claiming there are other ways to stop Google from becoming so large in Europe it is unstoppable.
This same copyright claim was used by the Spanish Newspaper Publishers' Association (AEDE) to force Google to pay every time it uploads an article headline on its Google News service. Instead of working with Spain, Google pulled out its news service, hurting the indexing of Spanish news sites.
Google has confirmed it does not make any money from its Google News service, listing the news articles for free, however several European countries have taken issue with the service, including Germany and Belgium.
If this new Google tax passes through the European court, it might mean the end of Google News in Europe, which could have worrying consequences for a lot of news-centric websites using Google News as its main referrer.
Speaking on the reform to several European policies, Oettinger said “28 fragmented markets are not good for investment, not good for startups, not good for developing new working places and not good for the user,” Oettinger added.
“If [foreign tech companies] are playing in our European market then we have some instruments to come to a guarantee that they are acting on the basis of our rules."
The European Union might be looking to reform its digital policies, but with the UK's EU referendum (or removal depending on the party in power next election) it might not affect UK users.