Summary Box: Google settles ad probe for $500M

THE SETTLEMENT: Google will pay $500 million to settle a U.S. government investigation into the company’s distribution of online ads from Canadian pharmacies illegally selling prescription drugs to Americans.

DON’T BE EVIL?: Authorities left little doubt that Google had misbehaved. From their vantage point, Google crossed into a shady area in pursuit of higher profits.

DEEP POCKETS: Google, which had $39 billion in cash at the end of June, can easily afford the $500 million settlement.

GOOGLE’S ADMISSION: The company says it banned such ads a few years ago, but admits it shouldn’t have allowed them in the first place.