back to article Give Google a COLD HARD SLAP - web rivals' plea to Euro watchdog

The European Commission is under fresh pressure to stop Google from allegedly stifling rivals by favouring its own products in its search engine results. Almost a dozen web companies want Brussels to issue a Statement of Objections, which would be a first step in bringing charges against the advertising giant. In a joint letter …

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Anonymous Coward

Microsoft absent. ..

..... who do yiu think owns Expedia?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Microsoft absent. ..

They used to but not anymore.

However here is some nice stuff about Expedia:

http://connexionfrance.com/Expedia-Tripadvisor-Hotels-com-false-availability-damages-Synhorcat-Lefebvre-DGCCRF-13057-view-article.html

and here:

http://www.bighospitality.co.uk/Legislation/IHG-hotel-deals-with-Expedia-and-Booking.com-investigated-by-OFT

I suppose the MS DNA must be still there though.

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Devil

The new Microsoft...

Every time I read this sort of thing, I become more and more convinced that Google are becoming the new Microsoft...

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Meh

Re: The new Microsoft...

Bound to happen I'm afraid. Integrated monopolies are just so ruddy convenient to use the services of.

"Chinese walls" between Search/Advertising and Application/Commercial are probably the only answer.

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Re: "Chinese walls"

Yes, except they don't work much better than the current restrictions. And yes, I'm aware that currently there are effectively no restrictions on Google.

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Anonymous Coward

"In addition to materially degrading the user experience and limiting consumer choice, Google’s search manipulation practices lay waste to entire classes of competitors in every sector where Google chooses to deploy them."

Isn't that what businesses are meant to do? To do better in the marketplace than their competitors.

You don't hear Asda complaining that Tesco don't adverstise/promote Asda's products, or that there's some problem with Tesco's advertising/promoting their own products at the expense of other brands.

What is it with the idiots who manager tech companies that they don't understand the word "compete"?

How does one get to be stupid enough to ask lawmakers to draft law to prevent your competitors doing things that are perfectly legal for every other business sector?

How does one get to be stupid enough to think you should have laws passed to cripple your competitors in your favour?

Google have that market share because people choose to use their services.

If you want to compete with them provide equal or better services than them.

Stop asking for the entire system to be bent so that you can stay in business.

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Boffin

Wouldn't a more accurate analogy be BT's directory enquiries or the yellow pages refusing to give out other telecoms companies' details rather than Tesco vs. Asda?

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Facepalm

Use a different directory if you're not getting the search results you desire.

The best thing about the Internet is CHOICE. Nobody forces you to use Google.

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Anonymous Coward

If you search Google for Yahoo, Yahoo comes 1st, similarly Bing, Baidu, Altavista etc, etc.

If you search Google for "Search Engines" Google isn't on Page 1.

Google seems quite happy to give out other search engine sites details.

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Boffin

Yeah. Two things...

1. Let's imagine for a moment that you have no idea what Google's competitors are called, you only know what the de facto monopolies are. You go to BT for phones, you go to Google for search. You might be happy with this, you might not be. But lots of people do this.

2. If you ask one of the de facto monopolies for information about a product or service, you are always pointed towards their own.

If BT did this, would it be anti-competitive? Would they be brought down a peg or two by the regulator?

If you think Google should be allowed to do this but BT can't, why do you think so?

Let's advance the argument a little more than 'Yeah, right, Asda and Tesco innit'.

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Monopoly abuse

Google is a monopoly. Yes, Yahoo, Bing, DuckDuckGo all exist; but at 90% use Google is a monopoly.

If Google are favouring their own offerings over others, then that is monopoly abuse and they should be punished. Heavily.

If Google are not favouring their own offerings, but their own offerings happen to be better than rivals' and thus linked to/quoted more which makes it appear higher in the results...well...that's just tough.

Personally I try to avoid using Google and any Google service as I view them like a metastasised cancer; little tendrils and nodes all over the 'Net doing goodness knows what and none of it good for you. I never even use "google" as a verb; one does not "google that", one "web searches". Google, like MS, are a monopoly and never to be trusted.

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Anonymous Coward

@JamesC - Yes, you are forced to use Google, maybe not for search, but have you seen the amount of sites which advertise using Google or which use Google analytics?

Don't suggest I use Adblock, et al, I should not have to use third party software to prevent a company I don't want to deal with having my personal information.

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Anonymous Coward

That's nice, but as I've just pointed out searching Google for "Search engines" doesn't give you a 1st page hit for Google, it gives you a load of hits for their competitors.

If you're going to go making claims about how they're being anti-competitive please base them on reality.

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Anonymous Coward

You should complain to all those website owners who embed Google ads in their web pages, tell them they're being evil for using Google to get ad revenue from the web pages they're paying to provide you with.

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Anonymous Coward

RE: " I should not have to "

"...have you seen the amount of sites which advertise using Google or which use Google analytics?"

" I should not have to use third party software to prevent a company I don't want to deal with having my personal information."

Your issue is with the site you are using and their choice to use a particular ad network. If the site has a "pay for no ads" option, then you should take it.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: RE: " I should not have to "

But, google analytics is supposedly not linked to their ad business, it's just an easy way for site owners to get metrics that just happens to give all your info to google.

Fact is having 90% of the european search market makes google legally a monopoly. In the EU it's illegal for them to use that to promote themselves in other areas. For example, type maps into Google and you'll see google maps at the top. That's them using their search monopoly to gain advantage in another area. Seems pretty clear cut to me.

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... maps (1, 2, 3), news (2, 3), videos (1, 2, 3, 4), music (1, 8), apps (1, 2, 8)...

Number indicates position on first page.

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Even that isn't an accurate analogy. Its more akin to phoning 118 118 (BT's directory enquiry service) and the first option is always BT broadband.

Its also about representation of Google's products. Shopping for example is a service similar to Ciao but is represented as being part of the search engine. This could be viewed as Google abusing its monopoly to take traffic away from competitors such as Kelkoo or it could equally be viewed as Google providing a better service.

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Google isn't a search engine, it's an advert vector.

I suppose that shows their results are accurate

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Anonymous Coward

Choosing to live without the goo is something which rapidly leads to a restriction on things you didn't anticipate or expect... and it's part of an experiment I've been running just to see what happened...

Search fine, I get better results as it happens. Analytics - click, off, gone. Youtube - goodbye cat videos. maps - I can live with someone else's.

But it's the little things - For example this week I dropped the banhammer on google api's and couldn't renew my affiliation to my chosen political party. Stackexchange became an ex. Many sites just went dark.

I'm not complaining, I chose to block it but who would expect those sites to be supplying their surfing habits to google through the referrer headers etc? Not many, even of us commentards...

/Anon or google might get me! :)

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Devil

@Dave Dowell

Go to Google.

Put in a town or city name or post code.

What comes up? A bunch of links and, more importantly, a Google map.

There may be other mapping services available, but who's going to look at those when they can just click on the first offering available?

*That* is a clear abuse of Google's power to stifle the competition.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: @Graham Marsden

Go to Bing.

Put in a town or city name or post code.

What comes up? A bunch of links and, more importantly, a Bing map.

There may be other mapping services available, but who's going to look at those when they can just click on the first offering available?

*That* is a clear abuse of Microsofts's power to stifle the competition.

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Re: @Graham Marsden

Go to Apple.

Put in a town or city name or post code.

What comes up? A bunch of links and, more importantly, an Apple map.

There may be other mapping services available, but who's going to look at those when they can just click on the first offering available?

*That* is a clear abuse of Apple's...wait a minute...an Apple map?...nah...no one would be that stupid...?

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@AC Re: @Graham Marsden

So your argument is "Well every other search engine is also doing it, so that makes it ok"?

Now try going to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_online_map_services and see how many of those mapping services are likely to ever get a hit off *any* search engines...

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Anonymous Coward

Re: @Graham Marsden

Yes, but as many people are want to say about companies that do the same as MS in the desktop area (bundling software, etc): Microsoft are not a monopolist in the search arena.

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This post has been deleted by its author

Not according to the European Commission, who boss has stated that they not be pursuing Google on charge of manipulating it search results to make them bias, as it an argument they know they will lose as soon as Google shows the judge all of it products that doesn't appear at the top when using the appropriate search term, for example email doesn't result in Gmail coming top. An probably detail history of how maps or any other products you wish state, that only got to the top in search once it became the most popular use product in the market, I am sure Google got the data to back that argument as well. lots of data.

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Re: *That* is a clear abuse of Microsofts's power to stifle the competition.

Except that when it comes to search Microsoft is the Apple of the business desktop PC market and therefore not in a position to be ABLE to stifle competition. Besides which, there's a well known Google blog post where they determined Bing uses Google searches to confirm their results, and if Bing doesn't have one, substitutes Google's.

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They would have a case

If their products were either

1) Free

2) Any good

These 3 listed are a great example. Euro-Cities, Hot Maps and Streetmap. They exist purely as a means to push adverts, which is fine, but they do not provide the same level of user experience as Google's own version.

Looking at it objectively, and following Google's own guidelines AND as a searcher. I would not want these monkeys in my search results.

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FAIL

Re: They would have a case

Who are Euro-Cities, Hot Maps and Streetmap? What do they do, do they even exist, how would they help me? Why should I now have to be forced to sit through some guff for something I do not want, with a name like Hot Mapps I guess that it is where stuff is most likely to get stolen, or have I got that wrong. If I am looking for a place in the UK why the $%^&*() do I want someone dealing in failed currency cities?

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People still use Google?

How quaint. I guess some folk just love being data-mined.

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Re: People still use Google?

Most of my clients either use Ask, MyWebSearch, HotBar, ReDirectYourSearch or StealMyClicks.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: People still use Google?

All users of any search engine sign up to be data-mined.

An awful lot of them choose to let Google do that instead of a different company because Google offer a search engine/interface that they prefer. Not to mention the additions that Google have added like a decent maps system that is integrated with the search engine they made their business providing. etc.

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Re: People still use Google?

"All users of any search engine sign up to be data-mined."

Almost all users of any search engine sing up to find stuff, they do not care about privacy until too late. Just like users of social networks. Who's the product? You are, bitch.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: People still use Google?

Yep, yet even those of us who know this is the business model still use one or other search engine. I hear there are even some who understand it who still use Facebook.

People are odd.

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Re: People still use Google?

I disagree Dave, I think an awful lot of Google searches are performed by people who don't know that there are other ways to search the internet and haven't even given it a seconds thought. A very similar bunch of people to the people who just used to think the internet was IE. Maybe Google should be forced to put a map service choice screen in front of your first use of Google maps....

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Anonymous Coward

Re: People still use Google?

Perhaps they should all try apple maps, then they could really wonder where they were.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: People still use Google?

How did all them users who used to think IE was the Internet find themselves using Google then? IE defaulted to MSN.

Please stop suggesting Google only have market dominance because of user stupidity. Those users had to choose Google, it wasn't a default on the PC they brought.

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Re: People still use Google?

Google userd to offer a good service. That's why they got traction, but like many companies they are now going for lock-in i.e. proprietary APIs etc. That's evil right there.

It's also an admission that they cannot compete on ability, and not competing on ability is fundamentally bad for the consumer and for the user.

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Re: People still use Google?

@Dave Dowell: As far as Antitrust goes, it is of no concern how Google became a de-facto monopoly in the search market. If they are, as most people would agree (and certainly any non-hypocrites who consider Microsoft to have ever had a monopoly on desktop PCs should) and they take advantage of that monopoly position to force their way into other markets, then they're every bit as guilty as Microsoft were.

What'll be really interesting is to see how all those who've derided Microsoft business practices over the years react when Google are inevitably found guilty of exactly the same kind of tactics. Will they still worship at the altar of the chocolate factory then?

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Mushroom

Sponsored results?

google.co.uk##div#rhs_block

google.co.uk##div#tads

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@Flackpackhampster

"Most of my clients either use Ask, MyWebSearch, HotBar, ReDirectYourSearch or StealMyClicks"

And as a pro, I guess you could tell your clients which one from that list takes its results directly from Google and which of the others uses Bing results. (scraped)

You could also tell us which of those 4 install various forms of addware and which ones could be (have been) classed as spyware in the past.

Ask? I've had spam on my blogs from Ask attempting to get cheesy back-links, this is no longer the year 2000, Ask, Excite, Alta Vista et al were fun, but they don't deserve to call themselves search engines in today's world.

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Re: @Flackpackhampster

I might've made a couple of the names up. IMO they're all spyware of a form. Well, malware.

Perhaps there needs to be a new term for shitty hijackers which companies embed in their software and which install unless you click the tiny, tiny tick box.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: @Flackpackhampster

They're all Spy/Adware.

I think the poster is simply having a dig at his clients as their machines being full of said software and they don't understand why that may be a problem. Given this and your previous post on this subject I can understand why you may not have seen this with your head stuck up your arse.

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Coffee/keyboard

Re: AC 15:04

Priceless!

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Maize - corn

You call it Bing. We call it Bung.

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There is some confusion about the role of Google on the internet. Google is not a search engine it is, in fact, an advertising service, that is how it makes its money. There is a conflict of interest when an advertising service is also a retailer and an even greater conflict when it promotes its products above those of its advertisers. The Google advertising service gets its footfall by pretending to be a search engine. The European Commission should consider the behaviour of the monopoly advertising service called Google.

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Anonymous Coward

All search engines make money from footfall through their site being able to be mined to target advertising.

So you'll be wanting to dictate to all search engines that they must promote the services of their competitors before their own so that they're not taking advantage of the 'stupidity of' users' who will click the 1st hit.

I get fucked off listening to whiners who constantly whine on about how evil Google are for following proper business practice of doing their best to deliver the best they can to their users, and achieve the best turn over for their business.

As for 90% market share... that's quite an achievement for a company who have have that despite just about every single PC that has been sold in Europe (and the rest of the world) for the last decade, coming preinstalled with an operating system bundled with a web browser which defaulted to MSN/Bing.

You all might want to remember that next time you all come along and tell us about how Google got their market dominance by abusing their market position. They got it because the users you all think are stupid and incapable of deciding to use Google, choose to use Google.

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An amazing reply! What rattled Googles cage?

Google is not a search engine but an advertising medium, that is true, so your rant is designed to obscure the facts. Google is a monopoly and should be investigated by the EC because there is a definite conflict of interest. Care to answer that?

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