back to article Oz watchdog accuses Google of misleading public

The Australian competition watchdog has accused Google of "misleading and deceptive conduct". The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has taken action against Google Inc, Google Ireland Limited, and Google Australia Pty Ltd in the Federal Court, Sydney, saying Google has breached the Trade Practices Act by …

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Motto

Of late, it seems that Google's motto has become "do a little evil and don't get caught". Of course they'll fight this one. a) it would be a major slap in the way they do business and b) they have more money.

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Not clear?

Just to make sure Google hadn't changed in the last hour, I went to their site and searched for "new car". Three sponsored links came up. I know they were sponsored because they were indented and presented in a yellow box with the heading "Sponsored Links". It may not be the most obvious way to set those links apart, but so far, I've never been fooled.

Compare this to various companies' penchant for commissioning studies designed to further their own goals. Software companies publish documents claiming that TCO is lower if you buy their stuff. Antivirus firms publish studies that clearly indicate increasing risks in ... just about everything. Petrol companies publish studies claiming that renewable energy is too expensive and global warming is not happening.

And Google colors the sponsored link box light yellow instead of fuschsia. I think we all have bigger problems.

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Not all links are colored...

Do this search:

http://www.google.com.au/search?hl=en&q=monkeys&meta=

On my system, the ads and mixed with the searches.

Some countries are similiar. It's NOT the case in UK, US and Canada (and france, and germany, and...)

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RE: Not clear?

Yes, but the issue is that the "sponsored links" appeared to point you to one site (which appeared to correlate to the name you were looking for), but actually took you to a competitor’s site - that sounds "misleading" to me.

http://theaustralian.news.com.au/story/0,,22065877-2702,00.html?from=public_rss

"The ACCC case stems from Google results that came up when searching for Kloster Ford and Charlestown Toyota in 2005. Those business names appeared in the headline for a link to the Trading Post, a competitor for car sales."

Google Australia may well have changed their practices now - I don' know - but the case relates to past behavior, which certainly seems to have been a bit "dodgy" on the face of the evidence.

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