ISLAMABAD           -       Google has launched a brazen attack on the Australian press and threatened to end free web searches after the country’s competition watchdog said the tech giant should pay for news content. 

Anyone using the search engine in Australia is now confronted by an abrasive yellow exclamation mark with a link to an ‘open letter’ which attacks the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission. 

The ACCC’s draft law - created at the behest of the treasurer Josh Frydenberg - mandates that a sliver of the colossal $6billion ad revenue generated by Google and other tech giants like Facebook, goes to news corporations. The battle between Canberra and Silicon Valley will be watched keenly by governments across the world, not least in London and Washington, which have raised concerns over the ‘advertising duopoly’ operated by Google and Facebook.