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Week in review: Gunning for Google

Europe gives the Web giant a one-two punch, while clean energy blooms in a box. Also: the Olympics run XP.

After last week's fallout over Buzz, the folks at Google must now be checking their back for a bull's-eye, especially considering this week's one-two punch from Europe.

European regulators opened their first antitrust investigation of Google with a letter asking the company to explain how it ranks search results and advertising. The letter followed complaints from European businesses such as Foundem, a price comparison site, and Ciao, another price comparison site owned by Microsoft. Those companies--Foundem in particular--have long complained that Google penalizes their Web sites in search results under competitive pressure.

Google confirmed that it has received an inquiry from European regulators but denied any wrongdoing. Google's share of the search and search advertising markets in Europe is even higher--around 90 percent--than it is in the U.S., where Google has come to know its regulatory counterparts quite well during the first year of the Obama administration.

In the second hit, an Italian court handed out guilty verdicts on for three of four Google employees charged in a case concerning a 2006 Google Video clip posted of classmates taunting a teenager with autism. The judge in the case gave suspended six-month jail sentences for two current employees and one former employee. They weren't convicted on defamation charges, though, and a fourth Google employee was cleared of all charges. In a Google blog post, the company criticized the decision and said it will appeal.
•  Hold the panic on Italian Google verdict
•  Xerox sues Google, Yahoo over search patents
•  One week without Google
•  Six Labs features now standard for Gmail users
•  EU cautions Google over Street View photos

More headlines

Bloom box: An energy breakthrough?

K.R. Sridhar of secretive Bloom Energy shows "60 Minutes" his company's little power-plant-in-a-box, already in use by Google and eBay.
•  Bloom's power plant in a box? (FAQ)
•  Bloom box challenges: Reliability, cost
•  Nitty-gritty details of the Bloom Energy box

Quicken for the Mac: Finally!

After three years, Intuit releases a (simplified) version of Quicken for the Mac. It's attractive and useful, but people with complex financial lives may run into walls.
•  Video: Quicken for Mac

The Olympics run on Windows (XP)

The many Acer computers that dot the Olympic venues are running Windows, but it's the venerable Windows XP rather than one of Microsoft's newer operating systems.
•  Roundup: Olympics coverage from a tech angle

Next Firefox to drop Mac OS X 10.4 support

The current version of Firefox, 3.6, supports Apple's Tiger operating system, but the browser's successor will require Leopard or later.
•  Firefox extension simplifies e-mailing on Facebook

Shut down Webcam use, judge tells school district

A federal court orders the Lower Merion School District to shut down the technology that allowed it to remotely activate Webcams on its school-issued laptops.
•  High-school disciplinarian denies Webcam spying
•  Many ways to activate Webcams sans spy software

When social media gets deputized

Meet the Boynton Beach Police Department. It's on the forefront of using social media for everything from promoting its TV appearances to searching for the crooks who just robbed a liquor store.

Facebook eats up patents for the 'feed'

Some prominent figures in the social-media world are already concerned that Facebook now may have the rights to a concept that should belong to the Web at large.
•  Facebook still pitching itself to open-source crowd
•  Woman says boyfriend kidnapped her Facebook page
•  Teen gets 15 years for Facebook blackmail

Microsoft offers cloud services for the feds

New Microsoft cloud-computing service offers federal agencies a high level of security, including biometric access control and fingerprinting for background checks.
•  CA to acquire cloud platform provider 3Tera
•  HP launches new cloud efforts in Asia

YouTube goes Disco with music-video feature

YouTube users can now sort and add music videos to playlists much like they do songs in their iTunes collections.
•  YouTube gives up on original 'Rickroll'
•  Time for Apple to get serious about video

Your local park: Actually not that bad for the planet

A scientist corrects a previous assertion that emissions from park maintenance far outweighed the carbon benefits of the lawn itself.
•  IBM touts Smarter Buildings push
•  Fuel cell vehicles to number 2.8 million by 2020

Also of note

•  Reports: 5,000 'overtly sexual' iPhone apps purged
•  New class action lawsuit targets Yelp
•  Columnist revealed as company's non-existent CTO