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back to article Google attacks Twitter's search bias claim

Google has come out fighting after Twitter claimed that changes to its search engine nobble results to favour Google+, damaging the internet. Mountain View has expressed "surprise" at Twitter's reaction, while reminding folks that if they really want a decent billing in Google's search, they need to do a deal with the ad broker …

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I see "Do No Evil" is alive and well and living at Mountain View. Surely someone can properly take them to task for this, as this must now be anti-competitive? I know there's been lawsuits in the past (e.g. Foundem) but this is getting silly.
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Anonymous Coward

What do you think should happen?

You seem to be suggesting that Google should be forced, by law, to pay Twitter $30million to use their results? You also would seem to suggest that Google should be forced to ignore Twitter's requests embedded into their pages asking search engines not to follow links and index their contents? Google have decided to allow all of the public posts in Google+ to be indexed and therefore they are going to be appearing in the results and as Twitter have disallowed them then their search rankings will suffer. As for foundem - I would pay a monthly subscription to not have companies like that in my search results!
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Anonymous Coward

Googles motto

Don't get caught doing evil
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WTF?

Huh? WTF?

Sorry but what you wrote does parse and doesn't jibe with what Schmidt said here:

"Google's executive chairman Eric Schmidt denied the changes to Google search favoured Google+. He implied, however, that to get a better billing, Twitter and other social networks – including Facebook – need to provide Google with greater access to their data and indexes."

I deny the charges, but we'll improve the current position if you give us rights to your data?

Sorry but IMHO Schmidt confirmed why denying the charges.

He's also blackmailing them.

But what do I know?

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Hate to say it, but...

I'm with Google on this one. Microsoft has the deals in place so they get the content. If Twitter is complaining that they are not in Google's searches then they perhaps shouldn't have signed a deal with a search engine that nobody really uses.
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WTF?
But you're forgetting - Google are in a monopolistic position. This is no different to the Microsoft of yore, bundling IE with it in an attempt to get their browser to gain a great market share over the others. Google are no different - they are using their dominant position in search, to get more traffic to Google+ - it's really that simple. They should be pulled before an anti-trust hearing and shafted by the US Congress - just like MS were.
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Silver badge

Google is a monopoly

But it isn't analogous to IE. Once you've bought into the MS model, there were (and are) significant cost barriers to leaving (maybe only slight ones for IE, but certainly for Office). If I think Bing (say) offers a better search experience than Google, changing is as simple as typing a different address in my browser. Social networks *do* have significant barriers to change. Moving from Facebook to Google+ (while retaining all your contacts) isn't trivial - and FB are determined to keep it that way.
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This has nothing to do with cost - as much as I think Bing is a decent alternative to Google, the Google brand is first and foremost in the minds of the internet-population - the fact it has become a verb of sorts should be evidence enough of this. Just like Windows - which at the time became utterly ubiquitous and appeared in schools, universities, and coporations throughout the world, Microsoft had a goal of killing Netscape - which they did, very effectively. So what if there was a cost involved? No company worth it's salt was ever going to purchase anything *but* Windows for their computers - and so the lock-in was complete. This situation is no different - heck, I'd be surprised if half the internet even knows what "Bing" is - but everyone knows how to "google" for something. This is the position they find themselves in - rightly or wrongly. And now they have a social network which they want to grow to rival, nay; slay Facebook (eventually). So what's the best way to promote that product? By integrating it with their biggest and best-known service - search.
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Mushroom
But *you're* forgetting: "Twitter was reported to be asking for $30m to tap its real-time stream." So Twitter want to be *paid* 30m for the privilege of chucking their crap to the world. Now they're bitching that Google have elected not to pay 30m for their sewage........ They think it's unfair of Google not to pay them to publicise their service? "Foxtrot Oscar" is the right answer and Google could probably append "and the horse you rode in on" and still have the moral high ground here.
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Devil

Indeed, Twitter is hypocritical on this one

This would be rather equivalent to Apple bitching that Microsoft is refusing to pay them for having a Windows version of iTunes. If Twitter really wants their feed to be included, they can offer it for free. It is downright bizarre to claim that Google is "choosing" not to include Twitter results.
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Anonymous Coward

@Phoenix50 - You're still wrong with your comparison

Google is not preventing in any way you or anyone else from using Bing which by the way is the default with IE. What you all are missing is that yes, Google has a hefty part of the search market but they are not abusing it in any way. Clue for you in case you might need it, Google is paying Firefox to make its search engine being used in preference to other search engines but Firefox still includes Bing in its search engines and there is nothing stopping you from changing. The fact that everyone knows how to "google for something" is equivalent to those that consider IE being the Internet on their computer.
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"They should be pulled before an anti-trust hearing and shafted by the US Congress" - why? Are they only bundling Google with the internet nowdays? Its their search engine, they can show what they like. Nobody, anywhere, is forcing you to use Google for your searching needs. If you feel that the results they are returning aren't relevant, then use another engine.
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Nothing wrong with your comments but Apple and Facebook ought to be put in the same boat. All the major companies have cornered certain areas but cry monopoly when they try to move into a competitors field. It's just big business and always has been. The difference is, for some unknown reason, the general public (or at least the blogging public) are now taking sides. Big business has never been so 'personal'.
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"Google is not preventing in any way you or anyone else from using Bing which by the way is the default with IE" And Microsoft didn't prevent anyone installing Netscape Navigator in to their Windows installation - what's your point? "Google has a hefty part of the search market but they are not abusing it in any way" Yes, they are - they are using their dominant position in search to leverage their other products that aren't as well known, in order for them to grow in popularity and usage. "The fact that everyone knows how to "google for something" is equivalent to those that consider IE being the Internet on their computer." You're right - and as I stated above, there was nothing stopping you installing Netscape on to Windows - but that didn't happen very much did it? I wonder why?
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"If you feel that the results they are returning aren't relevant, then use another engine" Let's skip back to 1995 - "If you don't like Internet Explorer, then download and install Netscape Navigator when you want to browse the Internet". And we all know how that ended.
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Apples and Oranges

IE was preinstalled and impossible to remove. Google is only the default search engine for Firefox and Chrome, which in no way precludes the use of any other search engine and can even be overridden by particularly irritating ISPs...
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Alien

@Phoenix50

For your analogies to be correct reality would need to substituted for the following:

Bundling IE with Windows:

Google search comes bundled and integrated with %Default% Browser. You cannot uninstall Google search completely (%Default% browser would not work if you did), furthermore Google do not provide search for any other browser but %Default%. If you don't want Google search, you'd have to download and install an alternative browser - however some search results would no longer work as they did with Google search (the browser would most certainly be better though). Since most people use %Default% Browser, they mostly stick to Google search, even though another search is available.

Google+ vs Twitter:

Microsoft allows any browser to be installed on it's Windows platform - Windows comes preloaded with a list of the most popular browsers for you to click on and install. Most people use Netscape, Mosaic and a few other obscure ones. Microsoft has a deal where they pay Netscape $30m to Netscape to allow them to pre-install the browser on Windows (because Netscape won't let them list and provide it for free). Microsoft builds their own browser, which is not as popular as Mosaic or Netscape, then decide they're no longer going to pay $30m to Netscape to pre-install Netscapes browser. Netscape gripes that this is no longer good for people, publishers, news organizations and Netscape users.

Googles' search monopoly:

In 1995 switching operating systems was, and still is, insanely easy; just type in which OS you want to run, click OK and it switches you to that desktop. All the apps you use not only run, they're also found all in the same place as you installed them on Other OS - no re-installs or unavailable apps because apps are all standards compliant and executable by every OS. Sure Microsoft can bundle Office and IE, but with a click of the mouse you can simply be browsing with Firefox and typing office dox on LibreOffice. Plus Windows can see Other OS and share documents with ease.

Extraterrestrial explanation, because you must be living on another planet... :)

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Silver badge

It's got nothing to do with cost and everything to do with revenue stream.

Google and MS are actually perfect analogues for this discussion because neither of them generate their PRIMARY money stream from the "Free" product being sold while their competitors do.

You can disagree with the basis of the law and argue that the law OUGHT to be changed, but while it is the law, it SHOULD be enforced equally on all entities.

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Anonymous Coward

@Phoenix50 - You don't seem to give up

Your arguments can't be used in court because :

1 - Google is not installed on a PC, you go to their search engine freely, only if you want to by typing a URI in your browser's address bar and the same goes for Bing. It's not like having to search for, download and install a piece of software.

2 - For more than a dozen of centuries, it has been an accepted business practice for a company to use their position dominant on not, to promote its own services and products. This is not a monopolistic behavior. Instead, if you go to http://www.gpoaccess.gov/usvms/ms-findings2.pdf you will see what an abusive behavior might look like. [quote]In 1996, after Compaq removed the MSN and Internet Explorer icons from the desktops on their Presarios to instead promote AOL and Netscape Navigator, Microsoft sent Compaq a letter stating its intention to terminate Compaq's license for Windows 95 if Compaq did not restore the MSN and Internet Explorer icons to their original positions[/quote]

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Anonymous Coward

"Firefox still includes Bing in its search engines"

That's only a recent change (I think Microsoft had to pay for it to be included).

Up until version 4 or 5, you had to manually add Bing to the search options on FF.

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Anonymous Coward

Because Netscape was crap. At the time IE6 came out, it was a far better browser than Netscape.

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Anonymous Coward

Pissing all over the users

Its like when the buses go on strike due to a despite between the drivers and the management. Who has the inconvenience? The people who use it. Not the drivers, not the management. The users. The public. This is kind of the same thing. Google goes on strike with Twitter. So if you want to search for something in Twitter, you are the one inconvenienced. Not either of the two having the fight. Selfish bastards, the lot of them.
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Facepalm

@AC

It's not at all like that. Twitter used to pay Google to insert tweets into their index, they opted not to continue that. Google still index the web, except where a content owner has indicated (via nofollow or robots.txt) that content should not be indexed. Twitter mark their content as not indexable, and moan when it is not in Google's index.
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Stop

Oo-er !

"Twitter used to pay Google to insert tweets into their index" Please !! not before the watershed.
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Unhappy
I smell an exceeding large and odoriferous rodent. Over the last year or so everyone, their partners and children seem to be attacking Google from just about every angle possible. Even Microsoft at their very worst didn't seem to have to handle so many attacks on so many different fronts. I don't want to get into the conspiracy theory trap, but I wonder who is *really* upset by Google.
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Black Helicopters

I am

muahaha
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FAIL

The irony is...

If Bing is the only place to get in-the-round social-trending data, and Google stand there with their arms crossed going "shan't. Pay us." then over time Google will, I suspect, find that Google+ becomes even less relevant as those who seek the latest "meme" or social attitudes go to Bing instead. See, it'll be the media and ad execs who use Bing now, this story is in itself only helping Bing to greater audiences. I didn't know Bing had a social search function: now I've bookmarked it. Hell, I may even stop using Google for searches, I'm too lazy to remember one engine for this, one engine for that.... See my point? Does Bing index and search Google+?
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Trollface

Probably

"Does Bing index and search Google+?"

It was already shown that Bing cribs search results directly from Google, so it wouldn't surprise me if they end up doing this, even unintentionally.

Incidentally, this is the only reason I would ever consider using Bing: it's just Google with a skin.

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Unhappy

Sounds to me like a plus

"The micro-blogging site claims 100 million users send 250 million tweets every day "on virtually every topic" - and cutting that out of search results means people only get a partial view of what's happening in the world" 250 million bird brain noises is not what is happening in the world, so the less I am exposed to it the better. If you want to attach to a bird brain, then you have that choice. When I search for hammer, I don't want "I jus baut a hammer an is luking on the web fr ow to us it - See all my Likes on Fartbook" coming up in the results.
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Anonymous Coward

Hmm...

I'm automatically suspicious of any company whose corporate tag line has to remind them not to be evil. Personally, not being evil is so ingrained in who I am and what I do that a need to be reminded of this is just bizarre to me.
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microsoft

the reason M$ are sucking up to twitter and facebook is because they're the underdog. Google don't need to I'm not saying Google aren't evil, but it's a relative thing and compared to the kind of stunts Microsoft would be pulling if they owned the world's best search engine, it seems to me they're being quite straightforward here
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Silver badge

Am I missing something?

I'm presently effectively "blind" when it comes twitter and goggle+ finds. Just the way I like it. If something wanders into my field of view, I knock it out with a combination of Firefox addons. If google wants to do some of this for me, all the better.
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Anonymous Coward
Regardless of Google's policy, a lawsuit would be pointless unless Twitter can provide something approaching a commercial SLA. Incidents aside, their search API is consistently unavailable for seconds or minutes many times every day. Changes at Google probably also reflect that Twitter has had its moment in the sun and is gradually waning - maybe not in terms of the volume of pointless chatter, but absolutely as far as attempts to use it to disseminate serious info/data, CS and similar applications went.
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Thumb Up

Well, who wants Twitter in Google searches anyway?

If I search Google, I'm searching for information. I'm not searching for trivia. Example - last year, I was watching the Proms on TV, and a singer came onto stage. I'd not heard of her, so I searched for her name on Google - and the first two results were people tweeting that she'd just come onto stage. Sigh.
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This is relevant information, especially related to celebrities and current events. The celebrity stuff is trite, but If you hear something's going on in London (eg. a riot), you Google it and want to see what's going on right now, not the history of the place back to when it was Londinium. An individual tweet is nearly worthless, as an individual pound coin is nearly worthless, but when combined into a stream of billions the movements of the stream are quite fascinating. I was a Twitter-avoider for years, but found myself going there before Google/BBC/CNN when world events happened as the real-time reports are hours ahead of the rest of the media.
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Stop

Then search on Twitter if that's what you want.

But keep it away from Google.
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Stop

Anyone who can't figure out how to search for riots in London and not the history of London should turn the computer off.

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So... do people actually post anything on Google+?
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Happy

Yep, I'm with you lot

I have no interest in the drivel being posted on Twit and G+, so why would I want it in my search results? Sounds like like big boys are just hitting each other with handbags for fun again. How childish.
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zb

Another feature

This saves me finding a way to exclude Twitter results from my searches.
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Anonymous Coward

In other news

Tesco doesn't advertise Lidl discount brands.
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Anonymous Coward

Although...

Although recently, channel four have been showing adverts for channel 5's Big Brother.

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Happy

Good

I have no desire to see any tweets in my search results.
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WTF?

get it straight

It was googlethatused to pay twitter for access to its feed for indexing. Twitter decided not to continue that, and now that Google is replacing it with G+, they are mad. Also, the g+ index will be OPT-IN
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WTF?

The real question

Why on earth would I want a Google search to lead me to a Twitter post? There are questions that can be answered in 140 characters, like "What is the capital of Mozambique?" but the answers lie elsewhere...
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Happy

Those who seek the latest "meme" or social attitudes go to Bing instead

Good.

I hope they are very happy there, the rest of us adults will carry on regardless.

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Bronze badge

A bit slow this one, but never mind:

"We're concerned that as a result of Google's changes, finding this information will be much harder for everyone. We think that's bad for people, publishers, news organizations and Twitter users."

Twitter seems to be missing a pretty major point here. Google is not the only search engine on the interwebs, nobody is forcing people to use Google (I don't). Why don't Twitter do a deal with another search provider and point their fanbois in the direction of that search engine? The simple answer to that is that I suspect that Twitter know that popular though Twitter is it pales into insignificance next to the popularity of Google. They know that if they did that the sheeple would stick with Google and not move to the other search engine. This would confirm that Twitter is not as significant as they want people to believe they are.

The thing about social networking is that it follows fashion to a ridiculous degree and today's next big thing is tomorrow's has been. Remember the dominance of MySpace in social networking? Twitter and Facebook will go the same way as MySpace when somebody comes up with a new fashion. Don't believe me? Well would you have believed me a few years ago if I'd told you that MySpace would be beaten into obscurity by some startup called Facebook?

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Anonymous Coward

"The rest of us adults"...?

I don't usually get tweets back in bing web searches. I get social network posts in the Bing Social Media search. (http://www.bing.com/social). Google's twitter search WAS also a separate seach category (biled as realtime, if memory serves).

Seriously, have you guys even used these features, or did you just reach for your big "social media is a big waste of time" bag of snoot-cocking comedy?

And if you think being able to gauge what the "half-educated hordes" are thinking via a searchable aggregation of their collective consciousness is a waste of time , you're missing a trick... don't be so quick to judge, it's a sign of old age and inflexibility.

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