There are more than a few publishers who have taken an aggressive stance against ad blockers. If you are one of those people, you are not going to like this story. Google is stripping out ads and republishing pages to be viewable on mobile phones.

Straight from the horse’s mouth (Google’s official blog)

If you search for [Super Monkey Ball DS release date] in an ordinary web browser on your PC, your first result is this complex, graphics-rich page. Search that same phrase on Google with your mobile phone, though, and your top result is this lightweight, phone-friendly version of the same page. That’s because now whenever you click on a Google search result through your mobile web browser, Google automatically translates the page’s layout to make it as easy as possible to read on a small screen. We also break long-winded web pages into smaller pieces and do our best to show you the portion that’s relevant to your query, first. 

Translation of “easy as possible to read on a small screen” = “we remove the ads”

Will this fly? One of the corner stones to Perfect 10’s carefully crafted lawsuit over Google Images was that they were selling thumbnail-sized photos as mobile content, thus eliminating the fair use argument.

From ReutersThe settlement stems from a lawsuit filed by Lane’s Gifts earlier this year in an Arkansas state court and is designed to settle all outstanding claims against Google for fraud committed using its pay-per-click ad system back to 2002, it said.

This is certainly big news. I expect some bloggers and pundits are going to jump to the conclusion that this proves click fraud is a threat to Google & pay-per-click advertising’s future. Don’t read any more details into this story than are already there. To date, Google Adwords remains one of the best pay-per-click advertising programs on the internet when it comes to addressing fraud.

From The InquirerEngland Footballer Ashley Cole wants to know why Google thinks he’s gay. Lawyers acting for the crocked Arsenal and England defender have asked the web searching outfit why, when you run a search for Ashley Cole on its ubiquitous engine, it suggests: “See results for: ashley cole gay”.

The answer can be found on Matt Cutts’ blog post from August of last year: the answer is: it’s all algorithmic. The algorithms pick the queries where this could be helpful. Of course money isn’t involved at all. We’re always running experiments to improve Google–sometimes it’s noticeable, and sometimes it’s not.

This is one of those cases where the results are very noticeable. Honestly, I think he has every reason to be angry. The question is, should, or even could Google be liable?

I’m sure everyone will be talking about this tommorow, both webmasters & the mainstream press. From the AFPUS District Judge Howard Matz has ruled that Google infringed on Perfect 10’s copyright by indexing images with Google Images. This is of particular note:

Matz’s ruling also notes that because Perfect 10 sells similar-size versions of its images to cell phone users through a separate company, Fonestarz Media, Perfect 10 stands to lose revenue if its request for a court order blocking Google’s use of the thumbnails is not granted.

I’m aware of more than a few sites out there that have relied on fair use for mobile content. That does not establish a good case history if they ever ended up in court!

Google has been sued by AFP over Google News and also won a copyright lawsuit involving its website caching.

Straight from MarketingSherpa’s ContentBiz:

“By ContentBiz estimates, online publishers who placed Google’s AdSense contextual ads on their sites in return for a cut of the revenues, made about $1 billion last year.”

The cats out of the bag, web publishing is a legitimate business. And that $1 billion from Google is just one slice of a much larger pie; it doesn’t include the other ad networks or affiliate marketing. Together, those added billions more onto publishers revenues in 2005.

From Chris Beasly’s blog on Sitepoint.

On the phone last night it was explained to me that this is more or less an Adsense clone, meaning third party sponsored links, not Amazon links. It is known that Amazon currently get’s sponsored links for their own sites from Google, but apparently they wish to take out the middleman and break out on their own.

I wonder what percentage of Google’s ads are served up over at Amazon? I don’t think Google’s stock is going back up anytime soon.

From Reuters UK:

A group representing global newspaper publishers has launched a lobbying campaign to challenge search engines like Google that aggregate news content…The Paris-based World Association of Newspapers, whose members include dozens of national newspaper trade bodies, said it is exploring ways to “challenge the exploitation of content by search engines without fair compensation to copyright owners.” Web sites like Google and its specialised Google News service automatically pull in headlines, photos and short excerpts of articles from thousands of news sources, linking back to the publishers’ own site. Google News does not currently carry advertising.

I guess free traffic isn’t good enough compensation?

When Microsoft and Yahoo complied with the DoJ’s request for search data they did not turn over any personally identifiable data, so they claim.

“Google’s acceding to the request would suggest it is willing to reveal information about those who use its services,” Ashok Ramani, a lawyer representing Google, said in a letter to the Justice Department. “This is not a perception that Google can accept.”

The move to web-based applications and centralised information storage has raised many concerns not only with privacy advocates, but those concerned with security. Phising and hacking are already big threats to online users. Un-warrented Government intrusions simply add to the mess.

Forget search history, Google is already storing massive levels of e-mail data on their servers. Its not inconceivable that every e-mail you send and recieve in your whole life could be stored in a centralized location. Thats a goldmine not only for criminal investigators but also civil suits and hackers.

I believe the solution is a user-side encryption key, perhaps a USB stick, that allow users to store their online data using high-level encryption. Yet even this raises problems. Google likes to read their data. Terabytes upon terabytes of information allows for deep data mining and the ability to extract all kinds of statistics to help make their company more profitable.

Whatever the future holds for Google and the other search engines, consumers are going to demand security as we move to a global desktop. Too bad there are probably hundreds of patent holders ready to sue the first company that actually brings a workable solution to consumers.