I think Google needs to recognise its dominant position, and perhaps be forced to make its page more customisable and open by default e.g. Can select Facebook instead of Google+ on top-left, can choose Yahoo instead of the GMail link, can use Bing for video searches, can use another online shopping comparison site instead of Google's etc. Etc.
Google will be hit with a statement of objections document from the antitrust wing of the European Commission that is reportedly more than 400 pages in length. According to the Financial Times, that tome – detailing complaints from a variety of outfits that allege Google abused its dominant position in the search engine market …
Friday 2nd December 2011 15:04 GMT Lee Dowling
Yes. And Starbuck's should let me buy a Costa coffee in their shop, Visa should let me pay for Mastercard transactions with my card, and Argos' website should direct me to Ikea for furniture.
There's having a dominant position, and ABUSING a dominant position and they are two different things. I don't see Google-branded products stuffed into every website I go to except where the webmasters have CHOSEN to do that. I don't see Google MAKING you have them as their homepage, or stopping you going to another site.
It's the people who are too dumb to recognise that Google is a business and they have a CHOICE as to whether to use it or not that are complaining. Those who don't want to use it aren't using it, and they're not obliged to, ever.
Compare to trying to buy a PC without Windows on it, as of ten years ago. Now *THAT'S* abuse of a dominant position.
Saturday 3rd December 2011 17:33 GMT Anonymous Coward
@ Lee Dowling - you are, of course, aware of the fact that being forced down a path isn't a choice at all? Not using Google tools means not showing up in results (as an example). This is the kind of BS Microsoft is engaged in as well - the removal of choice. And yes, that's business. but it's exactly the business of such commissions to stop such abuse of power so there remains competitiveness.
And let's not forget that this dominant position is effectively used to break the law ("we're too big to comply" as argument for Streetview privacy failures is a good example).
I?m OK with a business doing a good job and thus getting more business - good search results is what gave Google the edge. However, changing those results in their favor is abuse, and misleads the customer in THINKING they make a choice.
Wednesday 7th December 2011 13:30 GMT Anonymous Coward
Wednesday 7th December 2011 13:31 GMT Paul 135
Sorry, but I do believe that Google is abusing its position, especially with regards to pushing its other services. One obvious small example to end-users is using its size to bully an advantage with Google+; of course this is small-fry compared to what it is doing with advertising behind the scenes.
You mention Microsoft, but fail to mention that Microsoft has ALREADY had to pay large fines and ALREADY been forced to offer browser choice - you can argue that nobody is forced to use Microsoft's browser, but this is the precident that has already been set. Google is becoming the next Microsoft, except with much more power by levering BOTH its online services and Android operating system (I predict Android to eventually surpass Windows in use). If the EU thought it fair game to take on Micro$oft, then I sure to hell hope that they are consistent and take on Goog£€ and the in-your-face, unapologetic, unashamed offender that is App£€.
A lack of competition is ALWAYS bad for end consumers - if the market cannot provide competition naturally, then the regulators need to step in. I'd also like to see the EU more aggressively take on US companies who think that they can use the US-protectionist tool of software patents to bully their way on the world market.
Friday 2nd December 2011 13:43 GMT Jim Coleman
I've said it before, and I'll say it again
Any company that feels the need to have "Do no Evil" as its motto must have been thinking about doing evil in the first place.
You and I wouldn't have the motto "Don't shag Donkeys", because it wouldn't even enter our heads that we might do such a thing.
This dossier of....well, EVIL, shows that Google's motto has become a kind of reverse-psychology-self-fulfilling-prophecy. As though, by having "Do no Evil" as their credo, anything they do must not actually BE evil, because their motto SAYS so. Like their minds are interpreting the motto as "We CAN do no evil" rather than "We SHOULD do no evil".
The irony of course is that a lot of people use their Android OS because they somehow think Google is less evil than Apple or Microsoft. In my opinion they are the worst of the bunch.
I'll be very interested to see how this pans out.
Friday 2nd December 2011 13:43 GMT Marvin O'Gravel Balloon Face
Unelected anti-democratic nobodies bore the tits of successful internet company shocker.
Look around you right now. Is there anything that some blathering self-serving pension-grubbing bureaucrat hasn't seen fit to regulate, investigate, poke, prod or generally pass judgement on.
The EU Commission should stick to what they're good at - deposing elected leaders of sovereign nations.
Wednesday 7th December 2011 13:38 GMT Mark 65
Competition policy is about the one area of EU bureaucracy that I'm glad to have in the World seeing how national Governments are piss-weak on it and couldn't give a fuck for their electorate until election time. In the meantime they just cosy up to their big-business buddies and schmooze. It's not anti-democratic (they save that for countries that can't service their debts) by any stretch of the imagination and, if anything, is precisely the opposite.
Friday 2nd December 2011 15:01 GMT Paul Shirley
will Foundem &co won't survive long enough to see the result?
OK the complaints are in. Now time to wait and see how much survives the actual investigation.
I look forward to their response if Google are found to have *correctly* marked Foundem as the sort of spam I don't need to see in my search results... ;)
It's inevitable the EU will find some way to increase regulation from this big pile of excuses, regardless of the merit of any of the complaints. It's near certain there's something in there that justifies some response, though maybe just an empty 'precautionary' one to give them the excuse to go much further.
It's also near certain that the whiney scum aren't getting what they want, a free pass to search millions by perverting the Google algorithms - eventually they'll have to put the effort in and run real business's offering real value. Or quit.
Friday 2nd December 2011 23:55 GMT Keep Refrigerated
I don't see Foundem because I don't search for "foundem"
Where Google is taking money for advertising and the positioning of said advertising - there is some merit there to an investigation. To make sure they are selling space fairly, and certainly shouldn't be blocking competitor results...
But where trolls like Foundem are complaining about not coming No. 1 on a free listing service? Excuse me but WTF? What about Foundems competitors (other veritical search companies excluding Google)? Where does the right of Foundem come from to be No. 1 as opposed to one of their competitors such as pricegrabber.com, or shopping.yahoo.com, or pronto.com? These are Foundems competitors, not Google, so where do they sit?
Shockingly. most are capable of clicking on results below the first one listed. I also continue through to other pages if I don't see what I'm looking for. If I search for an item, and see Foundem listed No. 1 it's more than likely I'll look further down the page for better results, or even Google's Shopping. Sorry Foudem, I just don't want to use your website, can you get that through your thick skulls?!
Let's get it straight:-
- If I search for "foundem", I expect to see foundem.co.uk in one or all of the first 3 results on Google.
- If I search for "vertical search", I expect to see foundem.co.uk somewhere in the results - amongst it's competitors - on the first or second page of Google results.
- If I search for "price comparisons", I expect to see foundem.co.uk somewhere in the results - amongst it's competitors - in the first few pages of Google results.
- If I search for "<item or service> comparisson", I expect to see foundem.co.uk even further down the list, several page clicks in fact, because I expect to see the likes of specialist sellers of <item> and others before that.
- If I search for "<item or service>", I do not expect to see foundem.co.uk in the results anywhere at all - I expect to see manufactures, then specialist sellers, then high street shops websites where I can actually purchase the item, not another search engine where I have to search all over again.
Maybe Google should simply put "1. " against all their results listed and then no matter where Foundem appears, they can simply state Foundem is our "number 1" result when you search for it. More seriously, they could create a new category on the left-hand side called "Competitors" or "Vertical Search Sites" then let the vertical search sites like Foundem, PriceGrabber, Yahoo Shopping, Pronto etc... battle it out to be no. 1 of that category and basically stop them cluttering our search results page.
This is nothing like IE on Windows. MS have put an option screen now for the most popular web-browsers but it's not like Mozilla or Google are complaining that MS has not put their icon to the left most part of the option dialogue. The choice is there now... this is like bitching about the icon ordering.
Wednesday 7th December 2011 13:29 GMT jpswer
Maybe I'm nieve but I trust Google, I have watched videos from it's engineers on it's search algorithms and it all seems above board with users in mind. Google sells ads, it makes money from those ads because it has lots of people looking at them, it has lots of people looking at them because they are the best at what they do!
I use Google Search because 9/10 times it gives me the answer in the first few results, I tried Bing for a while and rarely did it have the same hit rate. I was a longtime Altavista user going way back.
I use Gmail because it offers me the most features and storage, I used to use Hotmail.
I use Android because it's the most open of all the mobile operating systems and allows me to customize my phone in any way I want to (custom ROMs and the like)
I don't use Google+ because it is not the best it does not satisfy my social needs (few of my friends are on it) I use Twitter & Facebook.
I could give more examples, Google aren't forcing people to use their products they just make the best products for a lot of people, they don't try and hide how they use your data it is all there for you to see in their privacy policies. If you don't like it then there are alternatives for all of their products out there!