The Federal Trade Commission socked Google Thursday with the biggest penalty ever levied by the agency for misrepresenting to consumers how the search engine was treating their privacy settings — i.e. ignoring them — on Apple’s Safari browser. The $22.5 million fine was clearly meant as a shot across the bow to other Internet companies that track consumers’ browsing activity and to signal that government regulators intend to treat privacy breaches seriously. “The record setting penalty in this matter sends a clear message to all companies under an FTC privacy order,” FTC chairman Jon Leibowitz said in a statement. “No matter how big or small, all companies must abide by FTC orders against them and keep their privacy promises to consumers, or they will end up paying many times what it would have cost to comply in the first place.” So there.