Earlier this year, Microsoft started an ad campaign linking Google to privacy concerns, hoping to cause defections to its own programs.
Two weeks ago, a European Parliament committee signed off on continent-wide legislation that would include a "right to be forgotten," requiring companies that operate online to show Internet users the personal information collected and, if requested, delete it. It's no simple request when information is gathered from countless computers and mobile devices and stored on servers all around the world.
In the meantime, it's unclear how far beyond fines the regulators are willing to go to impose their will on Google.
"I'm glad that the French are plucky and I'm glad that the French are pushing this," said Anthony Mullen, an analyst with Forrester Research who advises companies on emerging technologies. "I'm not sure that Google thinks that French regulators have teeth."
Falque Pierrotin acknowledged Tuesday that the fines were comparatively small, but said she expected the coordinated action to catch Google's attention and force it to make some necessary changes.
"Our objective is not to fine or to punish," she said. "Our objective is that Google be in compliance."
Associated Press writers Frank Jordans in Berlin and Raphael Satter in London contributed to this report.