UPDATE: Google has thrown some water on the wider implications of this settlement: “This agreement and the commitments we have made are very narrow. They deal only with ads for traffic devices in France. Nothing else. That said, we are always looking for ways to improve our AdWords services for the benefit of users and advertisers.”
It appears The New York Times was in error when it reported that Google’s promise to apply this principle universally was a binding condition of the settlement.
French company NavX, which publishes maps displaying the locations of speed traps, brought the suit when Google banned it from AdWords, on the grounds that radar detectors are illegal in France.
In its settlement with the French Competition Authority, Google agreed to various new conditions on its ability to ban advertisers, including a three-month notification period.
The specific conditions apply only in France, and only in NavX’s industry, but Google also agreed to apply “the principle of improvements and clarifications made in implementing these commitments” in every industry, and in every country in which it operates.
That’s a lot vaguer than agreeing to an actual policy, but it gives something for advertisers everywhere to point to if Google doesn’t act more transparently when it blacklists companies.