Forget EU's Toothless Vote To 'Break Up' Google; Be Worried About Nonsensical 'Unbiased Search' Proposal

from the that's-where-the-real-threat-is dept

As was widely expected after leaking out a few days earlier, last week the EU Parliament "voted" on its proposal to support the breakup of Google. And yet, that might not really be as important as a second part of the EU's vote, concerning a bizarre and nonsensical requirement for "unbiased" search results. As discussed earlier, the headlined proposal for breaking up Google is both completely toothless and kind of stupid. On the toothless part, not only can the EU Parliament not actually do anything about this, if the EU Commission wanted to break up Google, it would need to go through a long and involved process, that would likely fail. As Vox notes:
For Google to actually get broken up, the European Commission would first need to take Google to court alleging violation of European competition laws. The EC would then have to win the case and convince the courts that a breakup was the appropriate remedy.

"I can't believe that would happen," [antitrust expert Mark] Patterson told me on Monday. "I don't think there have been cases of anyone being broken up in years."

Patterson says that "there's never been a smoking gun" showing that Google has abused its dominance in the search or advertising markets to harm competitors
But still, here's what the EU Parliament approved [pdf] by a 384 to 174 vote:
Notes that the online search market is of particular importance in ensuring competitive conditions within the digital single market, given the potential development of search engines into gatekeepers and the possibility they have of commercialising secondary exploitation of information obtained; calls, therefore, on the Commission to enforce EU competition rules decisively, based on input from all relevant stakeholders and taking into account the entire structure of the digital single market in order to ensure remedies that truly benefit consumers, internet users and online businesses; calls, furthermore, on the Commission to consider proposals aimed at unbundling search engines from other commercial services as one potential long-term means of achieving the aforementioned aims;
As for why this is stupid, the Economist has a rather good explanation:
Google is clearly dominant, then; but whether it abuses that dominance is another matter. It stands accused of favouring its own services in search results, making it hard for advertisers to manage campaigns across several online platforms, and presenting answers on some search pages directly rather than referring users to other websites. But its behaviour is not in the same class as Microsoft’s systematic campaign against the Netscape browser in the late 1990s: there are no e-mails talking about “cutting off” competitors’ “air supply”. What’s more, some of the features that hurt Google’s competitors benefit its consumers. Giving people flight details, dictionary definitions or a map right away saves them time. And while advertisers often pay hefty rates for clicks, users get Google’s service for nothing—rather as plumbers and florists fork out to be listed in Yellow Pages which are given to readers gratis, and nightclubs charge men steep entry prices but let women in free.
Furthermore, the Economist points out that, not only does this move appear to be anti-consumer, but it's also just blatantly protectionist for companies unwilling to innovate:
Instead of attacking successful American companies, Europe’s leaders should ask themselves why their continent has not produced a Google or a Facebook. Opening up the EU’s digital services market would do more to create one than protecting local incumbents.
But within the proposal, a few lines down, there was something that might be even more concerning, and more ridiculous, even if it generated fewer (actually, almost no) headlines. And it's that, beyond "breaking up" search engines, the resolution also included this bit of nonsense, saying that search engines need to be "unbiased":
Stresses that, when operating search engines for users, the search process and results should be unbiased in order to keep internet searches non-discriminatory, to ensure more competition and choice for users and consumers and to maintain the diversity of sources of information; notes, therefore, that indexation, evaluation, presentation and ranking by search engines must be unbiased and transparent; calls on the Commission to prevent any abuse in the marketing of interlinked services by search engine operators;
But what does that even mean? Search is inherently biased. That's the point of search. You want the best results for what you're searching for, and the job of the search engine is to rank results by what it thinks is the best. An "unbiased" search engine isn't a search engine at all. It just returns stuff randomly.

What this really is, is a way for the EU to try to insert itself into being able to edit search results. They're trying to insert themselves into the algorithm to determine which search results it thinks should be up top, rather than whatever the algorithms find. This is very worrisome -- in part because it demonstrates how little the EU politicians who voted for this understand. Years ago, James Grimmelmann (no friend of Google -- as he's actively fought against Google on a number of issues), explained why this concept (sometimes called "search neutrality") makes no sense at all, and actually sets up a conflicting set of requirements where the "ends and means don't match." He concludes that the very idea of unbiased search is "incoherent." In fact, he notes that an attempt towards "unbiased search" almost certainly leads to not just worse results for users, but a more likely situation in which users get pushed to the kinds of sites policy makers think they're going to demote.
Requiring search engines to behave “neutrally” will not produce the desired goal of neutral search results. The web is a place where site owners compete fiercely, sometimes viciously, for viewers and users turn to intermediaries to defend them from the sometimes-abusive tactics of information providers. Taking the search engine out of the equation leaves users vulnerable to precisely the sorts of manipulation search neutrality aims to protect them from. Whether it ranks sites by popularity, by personalization, or even by the idiosyncratic whims of its operator, a search engine provides an alternative to the Hobbesian world of the unmediated Internet, in which the richest voices are the loudest, and the greatest authority on any subject is the spammer with the fastest server. Search neutrality is cynical about the Internet—but perhaps not cynical enough.
Meanwhile, the sole Pirate Party member of the European Parliament, Julia Reda, has a bit more detail about how this bogus claim of "unbiased search" is really just an attempt to prop up publishers who failed to innovate via so-called "ancillary rights," like the attempt to force Google to pay newspaper publishers for sending them traffic. As Reda notes:

Here, it is demanded that search algorithms and results should be impartial to keep internet searches “nondiscrimatory” and to “secure competition and freedom of choice for users and consumers”. Consequently, indexing, weighting, display and ordering of search engines should be impartial and transparent.

This wording is explosive. I am led to suspect that its aim is to prepare a European ancillary copyright for press publishers. The attempt to cross-finance big publishers through Google most recently spectacularly backfired in Germany. Is this resolution an attempt to create the puzzle piece that had been missing in Germany?

In October, Günther Oettinger, the EU Commissioner for the Digital Economy and Society, provoked a debate on an EU-wide ancillary copyright law for press publishers before even taking office. Not a month later, the next move is made in that direction – this time in the parliament.

As you may recall, when German publishers demanded payments for the traffic, Google removed their snippets, and the publishers claimed it was "blackmail." As Reda notes, the whole "neutrality" or "unbiased" language in the resolution suggests a plan in which Google would be forced to (1) continue providing the snippets and traffic and then, later, (2) pay the publishers for sending them the traffic. In short, the idea is to force Google to "violate" the (made up) rights of publishers in order to give them a way to force Google to give them money.

Reda, along with Michel Reimon, put forth amendments that would block this possible interpretation of the resolution... and had those amendments rejected.

It's clear that Europe, for whatever reason, has decided to go to war against American internet companies, with Google being the main target. As we noted last week, it's not clear what the reasons are other than that Google is big and American. It's perfectly reasonable to be concerned about potential abuse, and to vigilantly watch to make sure no such abuse occurs, but that's not what's happening here. It appears that these moves are just designed to punish not only Google, but the very users of the service in Europe, pressuring the company to deliver a lesser product... just to benefit a few companies and industries that have failed to innovate.

It is difficult to see how such an effort could possibly be good for the people of Europe.

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 1 Dec 2014 @ 10:32am

    The absolute absurdity that is going on in this is astounding.
    We like Google but we hate Google.
    It's so user friendly and pro-consumer that we should break it up because it's big and reasons!
    We want search neutrality but we want results demoted or blacklisted (inherently not neutral)
    We want search neutrality but we want the right to be forgotten.


    GET THE FUCK OUT OF MY INTERNETS!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 1 Dec 2014 @ 10:34am

    The fucking E.U.
    Wants unbiased search results, and then yet still pushes Right To Be Delinked.
    It's time they got broken up for being too anti-consumer.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Michael, 1 Dec 2014 @ 10:34am

    Well, at least an "unbiased search" wouldn't be able to "forget" stuff people didn't want to be seen online.

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  • icon
    Violynne (profile), 1 Dec 2014 @ 10:37am

    In two years, when the EU Parliament finds this course of action wasn't favorable to them, at least they'll have the luxury to have it "forgotten".

    I'm curious to know why the governments of this planet have gone batshit insane.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      John Fenderson (profile), 1 Dec 2014 @ 10:50am

      Re:

      "I'm curious to know why the governments of this planet have gone batshit insane."

      Not to be too snarky, but when have they not been batshit insane?

      In any case, the new problem that governments of any stripe are having is that the internet allows people from all over the world to speak freely with each other. The ability to do that has always been anathema to governments.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Pragmatic, 2 Dec 2014 @ 5:38am

      Re:

      Corporate money.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    TruthHurts (profile), 1 Dec 2014 @ 10:40am

    Google doesn't dominate the search market...

    How can this be made any clearer to the EU?

    They are continuously showing their ignorance to the nth degree by repeatedly making public claims, that Google dominates the search industry.

    This claim is patently false as Google doesn't force anyone to use their search engine.

    The truth of the matter is that the World's population dominates and controls who gets to do searches for them, and the world's population has predominantly chosen Google to do their searches.

    We the majority of the people on Terra have repeatedly and consistently decided that we prefer the results given by Google over other search engines.

    How is that Google dominating an industry?

    If a competitor doesn't like that we like Google's search better than theirs, all they have to do is make a better search engine than Google's and people will switch.

    The problem is that that hasn't happened yet, and probably won't for the foreseeable future, since no other corporation in the world invests as heavily into research and development to keep improving the search results as Google does.

    Is it Google's fault that no other company is willing to do their homework to get better? No.

    It it Google's fault that people choose them to provide answers and search results? No.

    Does Google dominate the search industry? No. Let me repeat that, Hell No.

    The people choose Google because they trust the results.

    So, EU, if you want to continue to show that you have a collective IQ of a snail, please continue with your pedantic lies and threats. The rest of the world knows and understands that you are being childish idiots.

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    • icon
      Sheogorath (profile), 3 Dec 2014 @ 11:25am

      Re: Google doesn't dominate the search market...

      The rest of the world knows and understands that you are being childish idiots.
      As do natural people within the EU.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 1 Dec 2014 @ 10:45am

    so why try to do this to Google, just because someone has gotten a real big hard-on for it when nothing is done to break up any other industries! we have the oil industry, we have the energy (gas and electricity) industries, we have the pharma industries and most of all, we have the entertainment industries. please tell me why Google is the focus, when it gives it's services for free but the examples above are not touched? the entertainment industries, for example, are helped as much as possible, with as much as possible, having old laws ramped up and new laws introduced simply to aid them in staying how they want to, 20 years behind everyone else, stopping any and all new start-ups from even getting off the ground, let alone offering competition. if Google is self-centered and self-interested, i daren't say what these other industries are!! perhaps the most important thing in Google's arsenal is that what it does, it mostly does damn well and for free!!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Mason Wheeler (profile), 1 Dec 2014 @ 11:02am

    "I can't believe that would happen," [antitrust expert Mark] Patterson told me on Monday. "I don't think there have been cases of anyone being broken up in years."

    Patterson says that "there's never been a smoking gun" showing that Google has abused its dominance in the search or advertising markets to harm competitors

    I know it's completely separate jurisdictions and legal systems, but even so, my first reaction to that was the same as The Economist's: if Microsoft couldn't be broken up, there's no way that Google clears the bar.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      John Fenderson (profile), 1 Dec 2014 @ 12:58pm

      Re:

      "my first reaction to that was the same as The Economist's: if Microsoft couldn't be broken up, there's no way that Google clears the bar."

      We don't actually know if Microsoft could have been broken up or not -- that was never ruled on, because Microsoft settled before it got that far. However, that Microsoft settled is a strong indication that they thought it was a real risk.

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  • identicon
    michael, 1 Dec 2014 @ 11:40am

    Google, EU version

    I'd love to see Google build a search engine called "Google, EU edition" that just returned random results rather than "biased" ones. It would be a great EFF YOU to EU lawmakers, and teach them how their ignorance makes them a laughingstock to anyone technologically knowledgeable.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 1 Dec 2014 @ 11:43am

      Re: Google, EU version

      Google should just say "burn it all", turn off Google to the EU, and watch them flail...

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 2 Dec 2014 @ 5:11am

        Re: Re: Google, EU version

        That was my thought. If they don't like Google so much, Google should just leave the EU. Sorry Europe, no more Google. Your laws have made it impossible for us to continue to do business there. For this reason, we are no longer serving any of our pages to any European IP address.

        I wonder how long it would take for the EU to back down after that. My guess is two days.

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    • icon
      R.H. (profile), 1 Dec 2014 @ 2:20pm

      Re: Google, EU version

      I could see that working for the EU member country versions of Google for a day or so just to show the people what their governments are asking for. Of course, everyone would still be able to access Google.com to get normal results. The situation would have to get much worse before the pros would outnumber the cons for Google to do this though.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 2 Dec 2014 @ 3:52am

      Re: Google, EU version

      Right next to the "Google Search" button there's another one they can rename "I'm feeling European".

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 1 Dec 2014 @ 11:50am

    First off, how do you say "go pound sand" in European?

    Secondly, I'm guessing "results should be unbiased" would be the death of downranking sites in response to industry pressure. How would you say "go fuck yourself, MPAA" in European?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 1 Dec 2014 @ 12:52pm

    Disable google search in the EU

    Okay, so when someone goes to google.de (zum beispiel), just post a notice that Google Search is not available in Germany. Please use the Google USA search engine at Google.com.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 1 Dec 2014 @ 1:05pm

    Quick solution to this problem

    Just inform Hollywood of this:

    The minute they hear they can no longer force Google to bias their results, to promote some half-assed, overpriced, broken 'official' online video streaming site and 'forget' a ton of torrent aggregators, they'll be queueing to start the lobbying machines against that EU descision.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 1 Dec 2014 @ 1:23pm

    What do you expect from the EU?

    For decades Brussels was used as a dumping gound for incapable politicians.
    Now these fools got the power to make laws.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      DannyB (profile), 1 Dec 2014 @ 2:08pm

      Re: What do you expect from the EU?

      Those who can, do.

      Those who can't, become managers.

      Those who can't manage, teach on the subject.

      Those who can't teach, become consultants.

      Those who can't succeed in consulting, run for office.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 1 Dec 2014 @ 5:20pm

        Re: Re: What do you expect from the EU?

        Those who do not attain office, write a book.

        Those who suck at writing become Fox News guests

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    DannyB (profile), 1 Dec 2014 @ 2:02pm

    Search results are an OPINION

    Google's search results are Google's opinion of what is most relevant to your query.

    Other search engines, or persons may have a different opinion. Advertisers definitely have a different opinion. People engaging in the evil practice of SEO don't give a **** about the relevance to your query.

    I seem to recall Google won a court case against some vile SEO scum, I think it was called Search King (iirc). Search King was crying boo hoo because Google adjusted it's algorithms to outsmart the way evil Search King was gaming Google's results. Google's argument was a free speech argument, that the search results, even though mechanically generated, were Google's opinion about what is most relevant.

    Just doing some quick googling . . . see this.
    the Court held that plaintiff was unlikely to prevail because Google's determination of how a page is ranked in response to a search query is an expression of opinion protected by the First Amendment
    The EU wants to tell Google what it's opinion should be about the relevance of search results.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Pragmatic, 2 Dec 2014 @ 5:40am

      Re: Search results are an OPINION

      So if they want their opinion, they'll give it to them. Nice. Why don't they simply demand that Google change its name to EuroGoogle so we know which search engine to avoid using?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    That One Guy (profile), 1 Dec 2014 @ 2:44pm

    'Possible' has been moved to 'Definite'

    'This wording is explosive. I am led to suspect that its aim is to prepare a European ancillary copyright for press publishers.'

    Reda, along with Michel Reimon, put forth amendments that would block this possible interpretation of the resolution... and had those amendments rejected.


    If they really had no interest in such actions, then there would have been no harm in the amendments specifically blocking them. The fact that they shot down the amendments on the other hand makes it pretty clear that they absolutely are trying to create new 'rights' for certain companies/industries by taking them away from others(Google in this case).

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Rekrul, 1 Dec 2014 @ 7:33pm

    I'd kill for an "unbiased" setting in Google that only returns pages which contain exactly what I entered rather than what Google thinks I want.

    Enclosing a phrase in quotes doesn't guarantee that that phrase will actually be on the pages. If you want to search for the plural form of a word, Google will also show you pages that contain the singular form. It will also remove "ed" and "ing" from words and show you matches with those words as well. Not to mention that it will simply ignore some of the words you enter, regardless of whether or not you've used "+" or "-" to try and force it to include or exclude them.

    Google no longer seems to index the full text of web sites, instead they seem to just keep a database of what others have searched for and pull the results from that.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 2 Dec 2014 @ 5:27am

      Re:

      "hat only returns pages which contain exactly what I entered"

      Yeah, like it used to be. And bring back the special character search modifiers too.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Shane Mcormick, 1 Dec 2014 @ 8:58pm

    I'm actually beginning to suspect that some of the commenters here are Google employees themselves because the level of unconditional support for Google & utter contempt for the EU is staggering.

    Take a look around, type "mortgages" into Google.co.uk, there you can see that for a high volume keyword Google is forcing it's own "Google Compare" tool onto the user... Google is tip toeing it's way in to many other markets (hotels, flights, credit cards etc)... so they have advertisers paying millions a year in marketing spend whilst they systematically attempt to cannabalize the market share of the first page, whilst simultaneously pushing down the organic search results to try to maximise clickthroughs to a crappy comparison product that no one asked for, that is actually no improvement whatsoever on the other major comparison sites, same story with google shopping results, is Google shopping better than amazon or ebay? I think not.

    This is not about whats' best for the user, it's about squeezing a couple more billion on top of what is already huge amounts of earnings.

    It's the organic search results (that it is attempting to obscure from view) that are the very reason Google has a business in the first place.

    People don't realise the hell that small businesses' will be experiencing if Google goes' unregulated...

    I'm sick to death of hearing the word "innovation" it's just an excuse for companies to try to implement monopolies.

    "Necessity is the mother of invention" but without any necessity, it's just pointless innovation after innovation... take google glass for example, I mean, really, who gives a s***?! They should calm the obsession...

    I got no problem with Google making tons and tons of money, fair play to them, they deserve to be huge... BUT I think people should retain a perspective on things here, they index and list the worlds' content... they haven't sat their and published it themselves, the publishers of content have every right to a vote on how the internet & google are run, after all they helped to make it what it is today... (we all help to build the internet & so we all deserve a say) Im not sure why so many American people don't seem to understand... YES Google is a private company, YES people are out to get Google, but this doesn't mean that they are automatically in the right & should be allowed to 100% do as they please..

    Far too many people are assuming that any new "innovations" are to the benefit of the user, without actually taking time to actually research what these "innovations" are...

    We need a meritocratic search engine and proper capitalist competition without any exclusive (Google only) ad formats/comparison tools/finders.

    Footnote: if the EU genuinely hated Google, as some people ridiculously suggest they have the power to boot them out of Europe... however they don't hate Google, but they do see a need for monopolistic formats on search results to be quelled to maintain a level playing field.. AND any adjustments that are implemented would only affect European search results anyway, so I'm not sure why any American people would be upset in this regard... very strange to say the least..

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 2 Dec 2014 @ 5:28am

      Re:

      I don't see your point, did you have one?
      Who is forcing you to use Google?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 2 Dec 2014 @ 9:13am

      Re:

      I turn your first OPINION (You can't prove it's a fact) against you. You are probably a EU advocate or even a member of those corrupted bastards.

      Google is company and it doesn't force you to use it. If the results it gave in a search weren't what you look for, you wouldn't use it.

      As a company, they have every right to set up the results in any way they feel like, be it results, ads or whathever, because you know, it's THEIR search engine. This notion of Google=interwebz is both stupid and deluded and saying they have say on all of that is beyond the limits of dumb.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      John Fenderson (profile), 2 Dec 2014 @ 11:19am

      Re:

      Personally, I dislike Google as a company and disagree with a lot of what they do. I'm far from a Google supporter. In fact, I go out of my way to avoid using their services.

      However, on this particular point (much like the RTBF), I believe that the EU stance is wrong and dangerous. My opinion has nothing to do with whether or not Google is involved.

      "so they have advertisers paying millions a year in marketing spend whilst they systematically attempt to cannabalize the market share of the first page"

      Fair point. And the fair response is for those advertisers to stop advertising with Google. There are lots of other options, after all.

      "the publishers of content have every right to a vote on how the internet & google are run"

      Google and the internet are wildly different things, you can't talk about them in the same breath like that. The publishers of content have almost no right to vote on how Google is run. Google is not their company. Publishers do have the right to "vote" on how the internet is run to exactly the same degree and extent as the rest of us do. In fact, many publishers have an even greater vote, since they can buy their way onto the various technical committees.

      "this doesn't mean that they are automatically in the right & should be allowed to 100% do as they please.."

      Nobody is saying otherwise.

      "We need a meritocratic search engine"

      In its heyday, Google was a meritocratic search engine. Then various governments and agencies began demanding that Google stop being like that so much and instead alter their rankings based on political sensibilities rather than merit.

      "they do see a need for monopolistic formats on search results to be quelled to maintain a level playing field."

      What does this even mean? Are you talking about the format of search results? I'm confused. In any case, Google is hardly a monopoly.

      "any adjustments that are implemented would only affect European search results anyway, so I'm not sure why any American people would be upset in this regard... very strange to say the least."

      If that were true, then nobody would get upset. But it's not necessarily true, as the push by the EU to enforce the Right To Be Forgotten globally demonstrates.

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 2 Dec 2014 @ 2:46am

    I think the EU would be a bit less anti-google if they paid their taxes properly in the countries they operated in.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 2 Dec 2014 @ 8:03am

    Or maybe they just want to cut down the commercial part of something as important as google search.
    Funny how long these articles are and the whole thing is basically "Fuck Europe, USA USA!!!1"

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  • icon
    John85851 (profile), 2 Dec 2014 @ 8:07am

    Setting a precedent

    Google should abolutely refuse any regulations from the EU due to the simple fact that this will set a precedent for other countries to follow.
    What happens when China tells Google to block certain sites? How about a demand from Russia to block any sites critical of their actions in Ukraine? Well, if Google can do it for the EU, they can do it for China or Russia.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Bengie, 2 Dec 2014 @ 11:10am

    Clearly

    Seems obvious that with a 40% search market share, Google is "dominating" the competition. Google's name is plastered everywhere, but that's because they've branched out to more than just searches, but they don't have a monopoly in any market.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Shane Mcormick, 2 Dec 2014 @ 6:39pm

    Wow.. some arrogance from some of the "unconditionally pro google" commenters, what a surprise!

    I'd like to address some points:

    "Anonymous Coward" Wrote:

    "I turn your first OPINION (You can't prove it's a fact) against you. You are probably a EU advocate or even a member of those corrupted bastards."

    No.. I'm not, I both a user of Google & a marketer that relies largely on it's technology... as a human being & businessman with a family to support I want the possibility of marketing on their platform to continue & be available without constant disruptive pointless innovations & cannibalistic widgets/comparison tools (that add very little value) to be trying to steal business away. If you think that makes me a "corrupt bastard" consult a dictionary or Wikipedia for a definition of such, or better yet, look in the mirror. :)

    You also wrote:
    "As a company, they have every right to set up the results in any way they feel like, be it results, ads or whathever, because you know, it's THEIR search engine." (I'll ignore the "beyond dumb" statement & dismiss that as arrogance from the safety of your anonymity.

    Yes it is their search engine, but here goes a challenge for these advocates of the "all powerful Google-can-do-as-it-pleases" viewpoint.

    Google is reliant on 3 things in order to continue to grow (even just to survive)

    1. users
    2. advertisers (You know, the people that actually PAY for the search engine to run)
    3. Publishers of content.. (because.. something needs to occupy the organic search results, you know, the actual reason anyone ever found Google useful in the first place).

    Publishers, Advertisers, & Users MUST have a say in what happens, not only because of the fact that the content that google indexes (yes, whichever way you look at it, the internet) IS built and contributed to by everyone.. Google itself is constantly talking about democracy and the importance of it, but then doesn't live up to its preaching's by forcing products & services on to people.

    If Google doesn't allow (not just the user as it always talks about) BUT also advertisers & publishers of content any kind of say in the future of Google & the direction it is headed then it systematically loses what made it great in the first place.. it's only great because it gives people what they want - if Google gets' carried away by "what Google thinks people want" (google compare, hotel finder etc) it's missing the point... it must be data-driven, not a result of "well we think the user would like this & actually it makes us more money so we'll assume it's okay" it's not arrogance that will make google continue to thrive, it's empathy. (to the needs of all)

    This is not only in the public interest of the 3 aspects mentioned above, it is also in Googles' own interests because that is the delicate balance on which it's search engine operates..

    1) p*** off the users and what happens? People stop using Google & look for alternatives = google loses money & market share = Decline.

    2) p*** off the advertisers & what happens? People stop spending money advertising with Google = Google loses money, can't sustain the huge overheads = Decline.

    3) p*** off the publishers (organic SEO) & what happens? People stop creating great content that is useful for people who are searching for information = google becomes another Yahoo (less useful, not as good) = people look for alternatives = Decline.

    Sure, the above is crude but is based on sound basic principle.

    Even if the EU doesn't take action.. & none of this about the EU vote was even an issue Google is a danger to itself anyway with it's constant pointless & disruptive "innovations", people don't like things to constantly change (unless they solve legitimate problems), even users, some level of stability is needed, sure change things, but not like every month.. let people adapt... because if you don't you end up with another Google glass situation which is a product that people aren't ready for yet.. (unless you live in silicone valley in which case you probably think it is the best thing since sliced bread)


    Next point, Google leave the EU because it is unhappy with the proposed regulation?

    Riiiiiiight okay.. kiss goodbye to easily $1 billion per month in revenue... all because you can't stand to separate your "hotel finder & shopping results" away from the rest of the search engine, the majority of Google's income comes from standard text ads anyway, the EU doesn't want to take those down.. just for Google not to "double dip" their own search results in a way that squeezes out peoples' alternatives.

    But hey, as some of you are saying, google doesn't HAVE to play fair, it could vacate the EU & focus on America & other places, you can be sure the US government won't stand up to them because they are some of the biggest political spenders on planet earth... (talk about corruption why don't you)

    Give it 5-10 years & see if you still hold this opinion that Google should go unregulated, when you see ever-more venture capitalist projects such as :retailmenot.com the multi-billion $ corporation partly-funded by Googles' own money that enjoys Ever-green organic rankings :)... *cough* Don't take my word for it : http://bit.ly/1yfhZQY see for yourself.

    Google can & will make billions for years and years to come, & I hope they do, but these double dip practices ARE anti-competitive & there is not a documented case in history where that has been beneficial to the user..

    Time to reel-in the arrogance & practice what it preaches... and yes you can keep going back to the argument of: "google can do what it wants" however if the recent lawsuits & sanctions against Google are anything to go by, (issues with privacy, fines etc) then Im sorry but you can't. Microsoft were sanctioned against for much much less.

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    • icon
      nasch (profile), 2 Dec 2014 @ 9:12pm

      Re:

      Google itself is constantly talking about democracy and the importance of it, but then doesn't live up to its preaching's by forcing products & services on to people.

      How is it forcing anything?

      If Google doesn't allow (not just the user as it always talks about) BUT also advertisers & publishers of content any kind of say in the future of Google & the direction it is headed then it systematically loses what made it great in the first place..

      Then why not let market forces sort that out rather than regulation?

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  • identicon
    Marbles, 2 Dec 2014 @ 10:46pm

    Hate for the right reasons... (please)

    First off Google is a publicly traded multinational and typically not owned by USofA households, a side effect of having all these nanny state pension funds. Hurting GOOG marketvalue will probably hurt the typical EU, Japanese and Chinese household.
    The point Mike is trying to make is that German-led protectionism (fueled by traditional media industry lobbyist) makes this clash of titans somewhat childish. Not US vs EU, but old vs new. True, me thinks.
    Google provides winner take all (networked externalities hence natural monopoly) services, not much unlike newspapers did before them. The difference is that yellow pages and newspaper did that on a national scale. Googles revenue model is, however, indirect. The costs to consumer is not money but centralized privatized big data. CPBD is used at no cost to fuel Googles B2B advertising proposition.
    There is a real problem in the way the world (not EU) defines and enforces property rights on data(privacy or big)/information/content. Lest we have a clear idea on how to do that we might as well tax the hell out of natural monopolies, old media included. Else you get implicit pirate swaps like "we take your movies if you steal our privacy" and then some.

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  • identicon
    Shane Mcormick, 2 Dec 2014 @ 11:52pm

    Nasch wrote:


    How is it forcing anything?


    By displaying their own products & services above others, yes there is the argument that they could use another search engine, but Google established itself by being the best democracy of choice, (bait) & is now displaying it's own products & services above the ones that helped google become a popular resource (switch)... "earn popularity through trust, then abuse that trust by favouring your own products"... gain trust & popularity through an impartial quality algorithm >> then abuse it by favouring your own services.

    Why not let market forces sort that out rather than regulation?


    Because this isn't a run-of-the-mill competition issue, people are already so integrated into Googles' services that for them to lead people into their spin-off services is all too easy... Yes that is partly because google is popular, again, it doesn't mean that it should go unregulated because it's a consumer choice, (there is such a thing as a bad choice) & people should be presented with choice often, so they can keep choosing...

    remember, Im talking about regulation here, not fragmenting, or "breaking up" or anything as aggressive as that...they are a great company with a great great product, no need for them to come to any harms over it.

    Since February 2001, Google have bought 173 businesses and counting, ranging from AI, Robotics, to the development of UAV's,& also Deep learning (even 1 or 2 search engines) in fact Googles' own shopping portal wasn't developed by them, it was purchased. http://bit.ly/1eC232J If anyone requires explanations as to why the above information, coupled with the fact that Google are some of the biggest political spenders on the face of the earth, is not in the public interest then please feel free to ignore my words completely..

    Whatever conclusions people draw (& Im sure most people from either side of the water won't agree with one another) Search engines are the backbone of the internet, how they conduct business impacts millions (in the future more like billions) of people, their businesses, their livelihoods, their quality of life.

    But in the light of this, people are too busy calling anyone who questions' Googles' practices a "hater" or "jealous" I mean, this isn't kindergarten guys..

    People just want sustainable platforms on which to market, free from any crazy cannibalism & unnecessary instability

    & hell, I don't think that is too much to ask from a company taking 100s of millions per day from loyal advertisers... but that's my view.

    Most of the critics of the proposed sanctions wouldn't even be affected by them, which to me looks pretty damn suspect that they'd be so passionate about them...

    Anyway..

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    • icon
      nasch (profile), 3 Dec 2014 @ 12:44am

      Re:

      By displaying their own products & services above others, yes there is the argument that they could use another search engine, but Google established itself by being the best democracy of choice, (bait) & is now displaying it's own products & services above the ones that helped google become a popular resource (switch)

      Not only are you not forced to use Google, if you choose to use Google you aren't forced to click on any particular links.

      Yes that is partly because google is popular, again, it doesn't mean that it should go unregulated because it's a consumer choice, (there is such a thing as a bad choice) & people should be presented with choice often, so they can keep choosing...

      Exactly, let people choose what provider they want to use.

      remember, Im talking about regulation here, not fragmenting, or "breaking up" or anything as aggressive as that...they are a great company with a great great product, no need for them to come to any harms over it.

      Being told how to run their business is a harm.

      & hell, I don't think that is too much to ask from a company taking 100s of millions per day from loyal advertisers... but that's my view.

      Absolutely, we should all ask for what we want. The question is whether a government should force them to operate differently.

      Most of the critics of the proposed sanctions wouldn't even be affected by them, which to me looks pretty damn suspect that they'd be so passionate about them...

      You would be less suspicious of someone with a vested interest in the matter?

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  • identicon
    Shane Mcormick, 3 Dec 2014 @ 2:20am

    Not only are you not forced to use Google, if you choose to use Google you aren't forced to click on any particular links.


    Not forced, but the positioning of their biased services is where they will get most clicks as a matter of course, not particularly conscious choice... (people who understand internet marketing understand that prominent placement will attract more clicks regardless of the quality of the service or offer) so long as it is somewhat relevant.

    Sure, if the user is served a result that is not the best fit, they won't care enough to stop using Google, but just because they don't stop using Google doesn't mean they were served the best result.

    If I ran a bar I could water down the drinks, if I did that, it wouldn't be the best possible product, but if customers are used to my establishment from previous good experience, most will still come back, that doesn't mean I've done whats' right for the customer when I start taking the P***. I'm just not offending them into action..


    Exactly, let people choose what provider they want to use.


    Agreed, just don't try multiple ways of deceiving loyal users to make a few extra bucks... making the excuse of "it's best for the user" when actually it's far from it & then use the users' ignorance & inaction as an excuse to carry on doing it... "they didn't stop using google so it can't be that bad" is lazy logic & not accurate.

    Being told how to run their business is a harm.


    Thousands of businesses (none the size of Google) have to abide by regulations of some sort (including businesses I've helped with marketing)... Why not Google? Is it not much more privileged than they?

    For what good reason should Google be a law unto itself when there is not one single other business on the planet that makes it's own rules?

    Absolutely, we should all ask for what we want. The question is whether a government should force them to operate differently.


    That's not really the question, that's irrelevant on its' own.
    What is best for the users, advertisers, and webmasters/publishers is what is important, if that means rules, then that means rules. Everybody must abide by rules of some description, just because that is an unpopular notion doesn't make it incorrect...

    Even with regulation Google will still be the biggest search engine on the planet in both revenue and content, and rightly so... no arguments with that it is the best by miles! This really isn't a conspiracy against Google...


    You would be less suspicious of someone with a vested interest in the matter?


    Yes. Because their motivations for passionate disagreement would be much more comprehensible... not ambiguous, although I do enjoy healthy debate with people interested in similar topics :)

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    • icon
      nasch (profile), 3 Dec 2014 @ 6:20am

      Re:

      Thousands of businesses (none the size of Google) have to abide by regulations of some sort (including businesses I've helped with marketing)... Why not Google?

      That's a terrible argument. By that logic, there will be no end to the amount of regulations passed on everything. We have some regulations, so why shouldn't we have more? Now we have more, so why not some more again?

      What is best for the users, advertisers, and webmasters/publishers is what is important, if that means rules, then that means rules.

      The problem is that it's usually not obvious what effects rules will have, and not clear which rules will actually benefit the most. For that reason, it's best to only make rules that are really necessary, not make a rule when it seems like it might be a good idea.

      Because their motivations for passionate disagreement would be much more comprehensible... not ambiguous,

      When someone is arguing from an invested standpoint, they tend not to care as much whether their arguments are actually correct, and it is extremely difficult, if possible at all, to convince such a person to change his mind. I find it surprising that you prefer that to someone who is arguing for a position simply because they find it convincing for whatever reason.

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  • identicon
    Shane Mcormick, 3 Dec 2014 @ 9:58am

    That's a terrible argument. By that logic, there will be no end to the amount of regulations passed on everything. We have some regulations, so why shouldn't we have more? Now we have more, so why not some more again?


    You've just focused on 1 sentence of "the argument".. 1 sentence that you think you have the best chance of discrediting... if you have read this thread & still have no comprehension of what the real argument actually is (and the reasons for regulation) then you've missed the point entirely. so the above is moot.

    The problem is that it's usually not obvious what effects rules will have, and not clear which rules will actually benefit the most. For that reason, it's best to only make rules that are really necessary, not make a rule when it seems like it might be a good idea.


    Depends what the "rules" are though doesn't it? Above you have given me criticism for generalising about rules & you then go on to do so yourself?

    If you think rules that are designed to protect competition are automatically a bad idea, then who is the one who is being protectionist?

    People are so quick to leap to the conclusion that any regulations for Google are a bad idea, before they even have knowledge of them (specific sanctions)... so how can YOUR judgements be so accurate?

    "seems like a good idea?" 4 years of anti-trust hearings have not lead to levels of reasoning that are based on "what seems like a good idea"... no one woke up one morning & thought, "I know, lets regulate Google", it has come as a result of observations & long discussion clearly.


    When someone is arguing from an invested standpoint, they tend not to care as much whether their arguments are actually correct, and it is extremely difficult, if possible at all, to convince such a person to change his mind. I find it surprising that you prefer that to someone who is arguing for a position simply because they find it convincing for whatever reason.


    Thats not what I said... I said I would have more trust for someone that was discussing from the viewpoint of a vested interest because at least they would be being honest about the intent behind their words, sure they would be looking to win the argument, but so are most of the people you'll speak to on techdirt.com & being seen to have the impartial view, doesn't neccessarily mean that you are correct, or even one bit more illuminated than the next person, it doesn't automatically denote authority on the subject.

    If your concern really is what is "correct" & "incorrect" you might want to aquaint yourself with this information. http://bit.ly/1FOCTMU If you can watch this video & still hold the same view that regulation against Google is a bad idea, we're having a fruitless discussion...

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    • icon
      nasch (profile), 3 Dec 2014 @ 10:37am

      Re:

      I'm on the verge of abandoning this but I'll give it one more shot.

      You've just focused on 1 sentence of "the argument".. 1 sentence that you think you have the best chance of discrediting... if you have read this thread & still have no comprehension of what the real argument actually is (and the reasons for regulation) then you've missed the point entirely.

      You offered one particular reason for regulating Google, and I rebutted it. I don't need to reply to everything you've said in order to make one point, and the fact that I haven't doesn't invalidate my point.

      Depends what the "rules" are though doesn't it? Above you have given me criticism for generalising about rules & you then go on to do so yourself?

      I'm not criticizing you for generalizing about rules, I was criticizing your reasons for wanting this particular regulation.

      If you think rules that are designed to protect competition are automatically a bad idea

      Where did I say that?

      People are so quick to leap to the conclusion that any regulations for Google are a bad idea, before they even have knowledge of them (specific sanctions)... so how can YOUR judgements be so accurate?

      I'm not saying ANY regulations for Google are bad, I'm saying THIS one is bad.

      "seems like a good idea?" 4 years of anti-trust hearings have not lead to levels of reasoning that are based on "what seems like a good idea"... no one woke up one morning & thought, "I know, lets regulate Google", it has come as a result of observations & long discussion clearly.

      Yes, my point was just that "making things better" is too low a bar for enacting regulations. They should be put in place when necessary, and not before.

      I said I would have more trust for someone that was discussing from the viewpoint of a vested interest because at least they would be being honest about the intent behind their words

      People arguing for something just because they think it's right aren't being honest? What is your interest in this matter? Do you work for a Google competitor?

      I'll check out the video but I have a meeting now.

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    • icon
      nasch (profile), 3 Dec 2014 @ 12:28pm

      Re:

      If you can watch this video & still hold the same view that regulation against Google is a bad idea, we're having a fruitless discussion...

      I skipped to the "most revealing" part and watched several minutes, and I still don't see the problem with Google running their search engine however they want, so perhaps we needn't continue. If there's some other part of the video I should watch feel free to link to it.

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    • identicon
      Zonker, 3 Dec 2014 @ 2:29pm

      Re:

      You keep claiming that it is wrong of Google to list their own services in search results as an abuse of their role as a search engine. But if I am searching for a service that they provide, why should I not have that service listed in the results? I may be searching for maps, why should I not see Google Maps as a result along with Bing Maps, MapQuest, Apple Maps, and others? If I'm searching for air flights, why should I not get Google Flights as one of the results? Often that is exactly what I am searching for, and yet I can still use the competition if I think it is better than Google. I do exactly that when I search for weather reports as, in my experience, Weather Underground is much more accurate and informative than Google Weather.

      Progressive Insurance does the same thing: they are known for listing their price and the price of their competitors when you go to them looking for insurance. Should Progressive be barred from listing their own insurance products too for the same reasons you argue against Google?

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  • identicon
    Shane Mcormick, 8 Dec 2014 @ 11:49am


    You offered one particular reason for regulating Google, and I rebutted it. I don't need to reply to everything you've said in order to make one point, and the fact that I haven't doesn't invalidate my point.


    You are missing the point regardless.

    I'm not criticizing you for generalizing about rules, I was criticizing your reasons for wanting this particular regulation.


    Based on what? Google earned the position they are in today and thus have earned the right to be the dominant search engine? Yeah, thats been said before, and in case it had escaped your notice I agreed... YES, they deserve to be the biggest SE on the planet, NO they should not use that position to cannabalize the markets they index and include (other peoples') information on... why? because if they are allowed to do that, not only are they being paid for advertising, they are also operating on a conflict of interest in which they are becoming the number one competitor of the sites they provide an advertising platform for, it limits consumer choice AND innovation (by obscuring prime click-space with their own none-meritocratic product listings & limiting available market-share).

    If Ebay became a manufacturer & promoted & sold their own goods above the people that have stores with them I'd say exactly the same about them, why? Because they became what they are through the democracy of choice, (it is mis-leading to suddenly change mission mid-way in order to squeeze out the people funding your business to get more money from users).... This isn't something that should only affect Google, it should be any advertising/ecommerce platform similar in principle. You can't be a platform for advertising & then compete with your customers.

    One of your earlier arguments was: "Why not let market forces deal with it?" well.. they are, it's called litigation & lobbying. (a practice Google themselves have engaged in).


    (it's only the presence & prominence of competing enterprise which lowers prices & keeps things fair for the consumer, if Google is as "user focused" as it professes to be - time to prove it).

    and the "well I own it I can do what I want with it" argument... anyone can do that... the EU could say, "okay google, leave the EU, theres' plenty other continents you can do business on!" do the more arrogant people on this site actually believe that the EU would panic if Google left? (nose, cut, spite, face)

    Google benefits from the EU in MULTIPLES compared to the ways in which the EU benefits from Google... Google needs the EU much much more than vice versa.

    Google sulks & leaves the EU = Oh dear... Europe will have to get acquainted with bing (or another alternative search engine)... & live with lower quality search results, what a tragic first-world problem, businesses would have to seek alternative Search advertising... more than possible.

    EU kicks Google out from Europe? = Google loses BILLIONS per year in revenue & the playing field is really opened up for a competing search engine to emerge which is potentially extremely dangerous for Google. (before you say it this is not the case now, because start up search engines cannot even get funding due to the current dominance of Google search making it not viable, & even the ones that have somewhat succeeded have been bought out by Google anyway).

    Google enjoys' success off the back of indexing the worlds' content & deciding which to rank & where, NONE of that content belongs to Google, it remains the intellectual property of the person who produced it.

    What happens if these publishers suddenly take the same attitude that Google takes? Levy charges against Google for use of it's content, you want us to help you have the best search results? Fine. Pay for it, play by our rules. "you don't like that?" "hey, competing publishers are just a click away, buddy, it's not our fault if they arent as good."

    This hard-ball "devil may care" attitude can cut two ways & Google search is only as good as the best writers' on the internet & for that reason, hell yes they have the right to a say on how the search engine presents their information. (It would be best if all search engines were to abide by the same rules IMO - big OR small)

    Its not Google that actually creates the value, it presents the value created by others. So acting as a self-righteous tech-diva when faced with complaints is pure BS.

    Regardless of our words here, If they continue on they will more than likely face sanctions.

    Like I said, Google is an awesome tool, but people need to retain a perspective on the realities of what it actually is rather than what it appears to be.

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    • icon
      nasch (profile), 8 Dec 2014 @ 3:41pm

      Re:

      If Ebay became a manufacturer & promoted & sold their own goods above the people that have stores with them I'd say exactly the same about them, why?

      I'd say the same thing too. If people are happy with eBay's service and they're not defrauding anyone, there's no problem. If they're not happy, let them look for some other service. There's no need to get the government involved.

      "Why not let market forces deal with it?" well.. they are, it's called litigation & lobbying.

      Those aren't market forces.

      and the "well I own it I can do what I want with it" argument... anyone can do that... the EU could say, "okay google, leave the EU, theres' plenty other continents you can do business on!"

      Certainly, and if that is really what the people of the EU want, then that's what they should do. Of course, if that were what the people wanted, they wouldn't be using Google to begin with and there wouldn't even be this issue to talk about, so clearly the people want Google in the EU.

      Google enjoys' success off the back of indexing the worlds' content & deciding which to rank & where, NONE of that content belongs to Google, it remains the intellectual property of the person who produced it.

      Nobody is arguing otherwise.

      What happens if these publishers suddenly take the same attitude that Google takes? Levy charges against Google for use of it's content, you want us to help you have the best search results? Fine. Pay for it, play by our rules.

      No need to speculate, because that's happened. On at least a couple of occasions, newspapers have demanded that Google pay to use their material. Google said fine, we'll stop using your material, and then the papers freaked out and demanded (begged?) to be put back in.

      This hard-ball "devil may care" attitude can cut two ways & Google search is only as good as the best writers' on the internet & for that reason, hell yes they have the right to a say on how the search engine presents their information.

      No, they really don't. If they don't want to be indexed, it's very easy to get removed from Google's index. Other than that, they can certainly make demands, but within the bounds of copyright and other laws Google is free to arrange their search results how they see fit.

      Its not Google that actually creates the value, it presents the value created by others.

      If Google didn't create any value, nobody would use it.

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  • identicon
    Shane Mcormick, 8 Dec 2014 @ 11:54pm

    If they're not happy, let them look for some other service. There's no need to get the government involved.


    Just because people may want a equivalent service doesn't mean one magics' out of thin air, how many Ebays exist? Not many. Many businesses have no choice but to use these portals because they are established. & if these platforms/portals suddenly change tactics & start new conflicts of interest it affects hundreds of thousands of businesses, without benefiting the consumer... you can keep coming at different angles but it doesn't make my points any less valid, Nasch.

    "we're the big boys - if you don't like it, go fish" is only to the benefit of the "big boys" NOT the businesses whose ad budget funds them, and NOT the users.

    Funny how Google didn't take the attitude of "If you don't like our service go elsewhere" in the times of them becoming established, but when they are the market leaders suddenly things change & they suddenly couldn't care less, classic bait & switch.


    Those aren't market forces.


    No it's those that drive the market forces. Even worse.

    Certainly, and if that is really what the people of the EU want, then that's what they should do. Of course, if that were what the people wanted, they wouldn't be using Google to begin with and there wouldn't even be this issue to talk about, so clearly the people want Google in the EU.


    I was talking about the EU, not the people of the EU, this sentence you've put is to address a point not being argued, yes people want to use google, yes google has earned that (if you read previous comments I've said that already).


    No need to speculate, because that's happened. On at least a couple of occasions, newspapers have demanded that Google pay to use their material. Google said fine, we'll stop using your material, and then the papers freaked out and demanded (begged?) to be put back in.


    "Eventually, for reasons that I still don't understand, Google effectively decided to pay off the Belgian newspapers with a promise of vaguely helping them to make money online."

    https://www.techdirt.com/articles/20140620/12315427636/german-publishers-demand-big-chunk-go ogles-revenue-sending-them-traffic-even-as-they-try-to-rank-higher-google.shtml

    Paying off the lawsuit that was raised by the belgian newspaper? Yeah, really sounds like the newspaper was BEGGING to be put back in... :P more like Google saw it's backside & was scared that if a bunch of newspapers took similar action it would fragment Googles' value offering (by making certain demographics' of readers visit sites other than Google to get news in certain districts/areas/countries).


    No, they really don't. If they don't want to be indexed, it's very easy to get removed from Google's index. Other than that, they can certainly make demands, but within the bounds of copyright and other laws Google is free to arrange their search results how they see fit.


    Totally agree regards "arrangement" but thats not the argument, really, what I am against is the inclusion of Googles' own commercial products (placed above googles' advertisers (adwords) & publishers (SEO/Organics)) Its more about the formatting of the framework/layout, hey.. google can list which sites it likes in any order it likes... thats not the argument & if the publishers & the advertisers are the reason Google even has results to present (yes they are) then I'm sorry it's not unreasonable for them to expect to have some say around the format in which their info is presented i.e not pushed down the page because google wants to scrape some extra cash from a niche at the expense of the advertisers/publishers.


    If Google didn't create any value, nobody would use it.


    Google creates' value by presenting the value of others, yes there is a huge value to Google search, but Google can't take credit for the actual information presented because that is the work of the writer/publisher.

    Google can index and rank search results, but those results are only as good as the writers deemed as providing the best information (by Google) sorry, but the writers do deserve credit & input.

    Google knows this importance hence investing heavily in refining algorithms that improve the search results that they list, identifying the quality better, and weeding out lower quality results.

    Competition law is designed to protect the consumer & its' not exclusive to Google, it applies to businesses all over the world of all different shapes and sizes.

    The problem with tech companies from silicone valley is, even when they make billions & conquer the world (from their many fantastic products I might add) this isn't enough for them, they want to make billions & operate in international jurisdiction & be immune to any applicable laws, they want total immunity across the planet whilst soaking up huge amounts of cash & avoiding tax, it's really no wonder these things get messy.

    Great innovations but you must play by the rules as they are there for a reason, not just "because they seem a good idea".

    & I didn't even touch the subject of privacy issues, the NSA issue etc etc.

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    • icon
      nasch (profile), 9 Dec 2014 @ 7:27am

      Re:

      Just because people may want a equivalent service doesn't mean one magics' out of thin air, how many Ebays exist? Not many.

      No, but there is competition. I have bought things on eBay before and I won't do it again because I had a bad experience there. I found other places to buy. Getting the government into it because we don't want to wait for competition to take shape is not a good idea.

      I was talking about the EU, not the people of the EU,

      Are you saying EU policy should not be ultimately driven by the people?

      Paying off the lawsuit that was raised by the belgian newspaper? Yeah, really sounds like the newspaper was BEGGING to be put back in...

      I don't know the character of the negotiations, but right after the lawsuit was decided, the Belgian newspaper group started complaining about Google complying with the judgment - and this was after the newspapers won the suit! "So what has Copiepresse accomplished? It spent five years fighting Google... and won... and then let Google immediately go back to doing what it was doing before. Nice work, guys."

      Totally agree regards "arrangement" but thats not the argument, really,

      Well, you're taking "arrangement" a little more narrowly than I intended. I mean they can put anything they want on their search results.

      Google creates' value by presenting the value of others, yes there is a huge value to Google search, but Google can't take credit for the actual information presented because that is the work of the writer/publisher.

      I don't know why you keep bringing this up. Google never attempts to take credit for the production of the information.

      sorry, but the writers do deserve credit & input.

      Credit, yes - input? Why?


      Competition law is designed to protect the consumer & its' not exclusive to Google, it applies to businesses all over the world of all different shapes and sizes.


      I'm just not seeing the harm to the consumer.

      The problem with tech companies from silicone valley is,

      All corporations want to operate free of regulation, without any taxation, and immune from any laws. This isn't a silicon valley issue.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 9 Dec 2014 @ 10:50am


    No, but there is competition.


    Not the point. I can create an ecommerce site next month, does that mean because I've created that site that renders ebay unable to engage in anti-competitive acts? Hardly.

    Getting the government into it because we don't want to wait for competition to take shape is not a good idea.


    1/ It's not because the EU are waiting for competition to take shape, it's to curtail anti-competitive conduct - if Google really is so great (and the reason it is so great is it's intrinsic value) there should be nothing to fear, no? Certainly I think Google is great for the most part.
    2/ Who's to say competition ever will take shape without government intervention? Can you say that?
    3/ Why is government intervention not a good idea regardless, why is that assumed? A law that is designed to protect competition & the consumer... automatic bad idea? Even when you don't know the details of what they would be?... strange.

    Are you saying EU policy should not be ultimately driven by the people?


    Where did I say that? I said the following: "I was talking about the EU, not the people of the EU" where you got that from it is a mystery.

    Well, you're taking "arrangement" a little more narrowly than I intended. I mean they can put anything they want on their search results.


    Yeah, sure they can, they just shouldn't be able to charge people for advertising at the same time as directly competing with them... "conflict of interest" "drives up the CPA passing cost to the consumer" "consumer harm" "advertiser harm"..

    I'm just not seeing the harm to the consumer.


    Doesn't mean it doesn't exist does it Nasch. Competition law is there for a reason. Whether you understand that or think it's fair or not.

    Ways that consumers are affected is actually explained in previous posts on this thread.

    All corporations want to operate free of regulation, without any taxation, and immune from any laws. This isn't a silicon valley issue.


    Not a silicon valley issue in isolation, that was unfair of me, what I should have said is "an issue that is prominent in many companies' stemming from silicone valley".

    So what has Copiepresse accomplished


    This is unrelated to the core issue anyway... when I state "publishers" im talking about people that rank in the organics, this is an example of a single newspaper based in belgium that doesn't know what it wants & wants to sue with no concept of whether or not it has even been harmed by Google or not... this isn't about defending newspapers... it's about protecting competition (which ultimately protects the user/consumer)... let the paper & google slug it out between the two of them... but I still maintain.. google will be tolerant of such cases because of it's own interests (wanting to be a complete source of information), not some kind of benevolence, it's a business when all said and done. If your point is that it made the newspaper look foolish, I agree.

    Well, you're taking "arrangement" a little more narrowly than I intended. I mean they can put anything they want on their search results.


    Obviously not because they were successfully sued over it, (see above) & if there are no legal issues with it, how is it they are being successfully sued?

    I don't know why you keep bringing this up. Google never attempts to take credit for the production of the information.


    I was addressing the issue that many seem to have about the importance of the people that actually create great content & the part they play in making the internet great, google indirectly takes credit for the way they choose to display it (rightfully - it is their algo).

    Its amazing the amount of fear people have for initiatives that affect Google only in one selected jurisdiction... if Google lives and dies on it's merit these consumer protecting laws should be of little consequence anyway.

    If your business can only survive in the absense of fair competition laws, or if competition laws present a threat to your business, perhaps it is the business itself that should be called into question, rather than the concept of regulatory laws? The arguments for regulation are clear, the reasons against, not so.

    Why is the unbundling of Google so dreadful for them? Are they scared that if their services were rendered independant of one another less people would use them?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Ben, 4 Sep 2015 @ 5:26am

    Google is about Google, end of story.

    Google is a business. They give you what they're paid to, by the corporations that own the websites they offer links to, beyond that you get stuff in line with Google sponsors' and Googles bosses' narrow set of worldviews and interests. Google couldn't care less about democracy or fairness or justice. The solution to biased, corporate manipulated search results is not breaking up Google, it's to limit the market share any for-profit parasite can have in any industry. Let Google go out of business or let them limit their control to the foolish Yankees. This ensures the competition that capitalism constantly fails to deliver. Whether Yankees like it or not, Google is not all that, it is not the best that can be achieved. Indeed, like most corporate giants, it's in the way of free innovation. If it weren't for them patenting stolen ideas so others couldn't use them (the American way), they would never have dominated like they do.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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