Italy's antitrust chief urged Google to begin talks with Italian publishers to resolve allegations that it coerced newspapers into posting stories on its news website, or risk heavy fines.
Italy's competition regulator last month began a probe after the Italian Federation of Newspaper Editors alleged that any publication refusing to appear on the Google News Italia website was excluded from Google's search engine.
The probe was later broadened to include Google's U.S. parents Google Inc. as well.
I see that in the United States and in other countries, Google has begun talks with publishers, considering the option of recognition for the use of news, the Antitrust agency's chief Antonio Catricala told a conference.
I hope that this road is taken in Italy as well to close this without too much of a fuss because this is a procedure that foresees heavy sanctions.
Google and its competitor Yahoo face complaints from news providers in the United States and elsewhere that their search engines make money from news generated by others.
Google has argued that it helps newspaper websites make money through online advertising and does not misappropriate content.
(Reporting by Alberto Sisto; Editing by Greg Mahlich)