Foundem — the UK-based vertical search outfit involved in antitrust investigations of Google in both Texas and the European Union — has responded to Google's account of the Texas probe, accusing the Mountain View search giant of "diversionary 'straw man' tactics." On Friday, a story from Search Engine Land revealed that the …
behind the curtains
Groklaw has a bit of background that digs behind the press releases, and finds some odd coincidences.
I used to be OK with Groklaw, but it has an anti-Microsoft stand that goes well beyond facts. Or, put another way, it has become disappointingly less factual and more biased than it used to be.
Truth is, MS is vast so it has indeed its fingers in all sorts of pies. The issue is, however, that the origin of the complaint is actually irrelevant, and at best a distraction of the real issue. Note that there has as yet not been a single Google response that addresses the facts in the complaint itself.
Sure, MS will use it to their advantage, but I'm 100% convinced Schmidt would use any dirt on MS as well if he could find anything that they haven't been convicted for already.
The best way for Google to handle this complaint is simply come up with answers. The rest is irrelevant.
Groklaw is an op-ed piece
I did a quick first blush read of the Groklaw piece that you reference.
The author (not identified or easily identified) is sharing their opinion based on their assumption of the facts.
One can take a counter viewpoint that while Google weighs the validity of the site based on content, it creates an artificial barrier to entry. A new start up may be viewed as a lower quality source. As a lower quality of source, it will have a harder time getting market penetration unless it catches a lucky break.
The coincidences of the law firm handling competitors of Google is a moot point. When you shop for a lawyer, the lawyer or its firm can not have a conflict of interest, so any firm that specializes in this space that hasn't worked for google will most likely have worked for the competition. Since people tend to hire what they think is the best firm to represent them, firms that have experience combating google will rank higher in the list, or firms that have dealt with larger clients will rank higher.
Again its spin and straw man arguments.
If / when Google is ruled to be a monopoly then you'll have a game changing event.
It will take a judge to determine that Google is a monopoly and then the uphill battle faced by the start up will get easier.
"A direct competitor"?
I have looked closely at this and other cases and I am on Google's side.
Back in the old days I used Yahoo, it was very slow and the results were hopeless. I was also using altavista and another one. Then I changed to Ask Jeeves - a meta engine that could search a few sites at a time. Wow still a bit slow but the results were better and gave significant choice. However they started to take money off sponsors and put them in your results so when you asked Jeeves "What time does the last train to Tipperary get in?" you were presented with "Would you like to .. buy train tickets, buy Tipperary, buy a train, etc. It became useless.
Along came Google - amazingly fast, great results, massive index, no flashing or Jpeg ads, wow it was brilliant.
Most other people thoght so too and it became the biggest search engine by far. Then along came the comparison sites, and the shopping sites and the screen scraper sites. Soon every search was being met with "Buy xyz here" and clicking on them just sent you to another listing of stores where you could buy something. These companies just made money off commission or advertising (often Google own advertising). So you were being pushed into just another set of results and now having to see them through a slow site with irritating ads ("You are the 1 millionth visitor, click here").
Google suffered for it, but mostly so did its users. So the best thing they did since then was add quality scoring to adwords and search results. This made a massive difference. Decent results (and even decent adverts) were being shown again and all was good.
So, IMHO keep shoving these parasites at the bottom of the rankings and the crap like the Foundem site and the many others until they can create a decent site, with a good business plan that doesn't require unwary surfers to accidently click through to them.
Well I love google, but...
I saw a gmail advert on fastmail.fm, this isn't fair, and well if they do the same(well opposite) thing then it's a double standard.
Why is it not fair? Google may advertise its services just like any other company.
Oh, you think GMail doesn't pay for their adverts? Maybe... Probably not, though (ie they probably pay)... Any normal business would have gmail stuffed with its own budget... Out of that they can do advertisement wherever they like... Google being the obvious choice.
And you cannot say that gmail isn't a spot-on thematic advert when visiting fastmail.fm...
Paris, because like her, I don't know
A quick google of some keywords related to some of googles services doesn't place them at the top of the search results.
However I googled "video sharing" and noticed that youtube isn't listed.
Do they deliberately manipulate their own services?
I'd never heard of Foundem before this suit came to light.
I went and had a look at their site.
It is shit.
Google are doing exactly the right thing in this circumstance - Foundem needs to be pushed a *long* way down the results.
Foundem, lostem again, thankfully.
So "Foundem". yet another shitty "shopping" website. Seriously, the world needs no more, and I don't want to see your link to "buy XX Item here" when I search for information on something. Google does right and dumps you to the bottom of the pile, unless I (for some reason, probably suffering temporary insanity) search for your site, then I'd expect to find you that's what a search is for. Don't come looking for me to sell me something, I'll find you, or not.
Fucking Parasites. Die In A Fire.
You always were a bit of a dumbass!
But saying that someone should 'Die In A Fire' is particularly moronic...even for you!
Return fail for not parsing the /rant at the end of the OTT rant post.
+1 fail for suggesting you know me w/o IDing yourself.
I like this game.
OK - I will give you one fail for misquoting your own post - which ended with '/rage' and not '/rant'.
+10 fails...for being a dumbass!
This *is* fun...
Actually, no, it's not. I lied. Bored now.
Have fun, whoever you are. :)
"the same algorithmic treatment as others"
I'll bet Google does given them all the same algorithmic treatment. Algorithms can include all sorts of conditionals, etc. I'd guess the pseudocode for Google's algorithm is something like this:
If site_being_ranked in (google_preferred_sites)
rank = top
/// various other ranking steps
That perfectly satisfies the "algorithmic neutrality" issue, as it is a single algorithm through which all sites are ranked.
My guess is that Foundem actually wants that first condition removed, which goes beyond any definition of algorithm I know. A more rational argument for Foundem would be a "transparent criteria" argument, but that would actually contradict their statement that they don't want to force Google to reveal their ranking algorithm, as full disclosure of all criteria is tantamount to revealing the algorithm.
If site_being_ranked in (google_preferred_sites)
rank = top
isn't google_preferred_sites effectively a whitelist? To my mind the list itself is not part of the algorithm.
Personally, I wouldn't be happy to find that search results were being manipulated in this way.