back to article Google WILL wriggle away from Euro probe... but THEN what?

Google seems on course to win an remarkable victory over competition regulators in Europe. The deal could potentially seal in Google's dominance over the search business for five years, forbidding further prohibitive action against it - and setting a high barrier for potential startup competitors across a range of sectors. Most …

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Is it just me?

Or are all the rival search sites the ones I'd really like to exclude from every search I ever do?

I don't use Google, but I get fed up with low quality search sites cluttering up search results on duckduckgo.

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Re: Is it just me?

Yes it is just you. We should do the sensible thing and strangle Google, and while we're at it we should bring back the old motoring analogy and ban motor cars and get everyone back on horses.

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Re: Is it just me?

And I don't want Opera to appear in the Browser Ballot on Windows, but that's not the way the choice works (nor should it be).

I don't see why the EU can't apply *exactly* the same rules as they're applying to Windows. Namely that, provided sufficient criteria are matched for inclusion, each vertical provider (including Google) must be given equal prominence in a random ordering.

Why isn't what is "good enough" for Microsoft, good enough for Google?

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Re: Is it just me?

"each vertical provider (including Google) must be given equal prominence"

Fine by me as long as they provide a 'skip straight to organic results button', which will quickly be at page 10+.

Sometimes I wonder if the complaining parties have considered the collateral damage of their demands at all, so eager to kick Google in the nuts they don't mind drowning their own pitiful offerings in a flood of other equally mediocre crap. This is what a decade of SEO dirty tricks have brought, the scum fighting to ensure we all see a thick but 'level' layer of it.

If the EU really want to make a difference, make Google wrap ALL the vertical search (including their own) in tags and let browser add-on writers filter them away completely.

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Re: Is it just me?

Why isn't what is "good enough" for Microsoft, good enough for Google?

Not valid.

When your buy a computer you Get IE (and Bing) you have to make a choice to pick something else, the Ballot makes it easy. Once you pick Firefox you have Firefox (and IE) and don't keep getting the others popping up asking if you want them now.

1. With this you have already made an active choice to switch to Google. It's not Bing that came with the computer.

2. They don't want a one time choice (add our bogus price search results to google). They want to be added, all of them, all the time, at the top. No Choice.

If Google was going to give me a choice I'd like a "never show me results from this domain again" feature.

I might actually think about logging on to Google if I could make sites like www.shopbot.ca, www.mysmartprice.com, and all the fake review sites go away.

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Re: Is it just me?

Agreed, as long as I can turn that crap off (or move them to the bottom) then I don't mind. I don't want the first result at the bottom of the page! Can't EU allow Google to put them down the side where I can ignore them like most side banner junk.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Is it just me?

Yeah, Exactly where is my "no Alibaba' , no *.cn search term BHO?

Unfortunately, the EU firmly believes that "Exceptionalism" is a bad thing and uses it's powers to make sure that no one can be better than anyone else. This is consequence of years of subtle communist/socialist propoganda that has infected the education system and the media for over 50 years.

Welcome to the race to the bottom, there's nothing left to aspire to and no reason to bother to try; don't worry, Mommy EU will kiss your boo-boo and make it all better. Once you are all dependent on Mommy, she will become the totalitarian dictator she has always wanted to be.

"No more wire hangars!"

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Err, yes right, so Google are the bad guys because they crush startup companies by developing their own competing products, and this time delay in them being recognised facilitates that? The only gaping hole in your conclusion is that Google is one of the largest purchasers of startup companies out there. They often buy companies out, not develop their own crushing tech inside the company. Right or wrong, this is what a lot of startup owners actually want!

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Crushing startups?

Did MS not patent that a long time ago?

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No, Google are the bad guys for aggressively pushing their search monopoly into other areas (such as shopping, finance, etc).

If - imaginary example alert - you're looking for a mortgage and you get Google Finance on a worse deal than $other_vendor then you could potentially be down (and Google would be up) by tens of thousands of pounds. The more internet search takes precedence in shopping around, the more this is likely to happen.

Google are a monopoly and are attempting to monopolize other areas of business. Just selling you to any knob with a wallet and a bag of illegal Viagra isn't enough for them anymore.

I expect to be downvoted to oblivion for saying this but it's not like it should be news to anyone. Google are evil. At least Apple and MS just want to sell you stuff. Google want to own you.

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@bigtimehustler

This is not a good argument, as you are essentially allowing a situation where Google can buy start-ups whilst being able to say during negotiation "oh and by the way, if you don't agree to our price, we can make you disappear"

"make you disappear" may be in the virtual sense, but still the similarity to an organised crime extortion racket is more than a little disturbing.

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At least Apple and MS just want to sell you stuff. Google want to own you.

You really sure that's just Google?

Just firewall Google out of your network if you hate them that much. You'll be able to use the rest of the Internet just fine. Now, erm, try that with Microsoft Windows. Try running all the software that you need Windows to run (which is.. erm.. just about everything of note in the commercial market, and absolutely heaps of legacy software that isn't going to be changed any time soon). Bear in mind that Apple dearly want to be where Microsoft is (and Microsoft dearly want to be as cool in the public eye as Apple).

They all want to "own you", to use your own terminology. Google are just the ones that you have the biggest ability to avoid entirely.

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@MGale

"They all want to "own you", to use your own terminology. Google are just the ones that you have the biggest ability to avoid entirely."

That's patent nonsense. The motivations are different in each case. He who pays the piper plays the tune.

With Apple you pay a healthy price for a healthy service. It's a clean proposition, transparent and easy to understand. They make their money from the cash till in exchange for goods and services the user is buying directly from them.

With Google you are the product, the food for sale and put on the table at the Google restaurant.

For Apple, you can avoid them *entirely* by simply not buying any Apple kit. They have no desire to provide service to users who aren't their customers.

For Google, it's not so easy. They want to worm their way to understanding intimate detail about every Internet user.

That is why they sniffed WiFi networks (which contrary to their claims WAS a management approved strategy).

That is why they have just had to pay a fine the US, for deliberately abusing user privacy by cynically coding their way around a user option in Safari not to be tracked, even though, self evidently, a user who had selected this option clearly would not want to be tracked.

That is why they are now insisting on every commenter on YouTube being a member of Google Circles.

That is why they try every which way to get the browser you use to carry ad tracking cookies

That is why they have produced Chrome and auto-updating isn't a user option to switch off, use Chrome and you will be volunteering more than you bargained for.

That is why they offer file download scanning services integrated with search, the users think "great, I get virus scanning for free" but they are almost certainly doing semantic analysis on the content of all your downloads to build a picture of you. They are building a picture of users everywhere.

That is why they provide Gmail and even if you never touch Google, your personal contact details are almost certain to be known to them due to the address book entry one or more of your friends will have.

That is why, unlike Apple, they don't state anywhere the data you store with them is owned by you, not them.

That is why they don't make any commitment not to read (either in person or electronically) the entirety of your document base stored with them in Google Mail and Google Docs, much of which will contain confidential information about other people and businesses that have no relationship with Google.

Of course it's also possible to avoid much of what Google do, but to be sure they are completely out of your life is by now an impossible proposition. They are quite possibly more powerful than the NSA because so much is being *volunteered* for them, it is being comprehensively and without constraint indexed, and they have complete free reign to read it.

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...and yet you can still avoid it all by firewalling the Google IP ranges from your network. Asides maybe the gmail thing, admittedly, but don't be naive and pretend that Apple and Microsoft aren't tracking you to within an inch of your life. Try reading Apple's privacy policy some time. They can use your data for basically any reason they like.

Oh and I still have no Plus account. I just don't comment on Youtube, nor rate or review Android apps any more. If Plus starts being even more "integrated", I'll be moving to Amazon's app store rather quickly. Or anybody else's app store come to think of it. Got that option with iThings? Ahh... no.

Plenty of things you can criticise Google for. I don't like the increasing false need for Google Facebook either. But, don't pretend that they are unique or that Apple and Microsoft aren't bastards that want to own you, and charge you heftily for the "privilege". Especially Microsoft, lobbying hard for the EU to spank Google over a search "monopoly" that's there because they are good at it, as opposed to the clearly abusive Microsoft monopoly that's only there because you have little choice in the matter if you want to be employable in IT, or want to run any kind of PC software that isn't niche. No, Apple is not the answer to that. Apple are the fire to Microsoft's frying pan.

So yes, please go ahead and criticise Google. I'll even agree with you on some things, but make sure those accusations get thrown straight at Microsoft and Apple too, because they are every bit as bad.

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So 87% are happy with Google search as it is?

Some of us in that 87% are really peed off that we're going to have our search results diluted with crap from shite 3rd part "vertical search engines" like Kelkoo. I suppose the likes of Bing might end up happy, since people will presumably click through to those useless sites and then blame Google for having given them rubbish search results.

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Re: So 87% are happy with Google search as it is?

93%. The 87% is the ad market share.

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Interesting

If Google Maps is not best in class, what is? OSM is the only thing I can think of that comes close.

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Re: Interesting

Here.com, Bing maps might also be comparable, but probably not superior…

Michelin has awesome road maps for travelling, but their web site is unfortunately crap. I understand many still use it, because they prefer the arguably superior road maps design.

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Re: Interesting

"Michelin has awesome road maps for travelling, but their web site is unfortunately crap"

Incredible isn't it, that they sit on something that could rival even Nokia Maps, whilst wondering what this new fangled internet thing is? Google maps are good, but they screw it up by forgeting how intermittent mobile data signals are. Michelin could have their name on a huge fraction of every drivers' smartphone out there, with downloadable maps (so no handset, OS, or mobile signal reliant), offer an annual refresh based on accepting quarterly emails of marketing stuff. Tie in and expand the routiers franchise with fuel and services....

I weep when I see how poor some companies are at winning on the web, when they start wit the cards stacked in their favour. Then I look at my own company's laughable efforts, and realise that it's apparently far easier to screw things up than to actually think like a customer and do anything well.

On the bright side, at least I don't work for Bodge & Quodge, proud owners of The Worst Web Site In History.

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Re: Interesting

Bing and Here are vastly inferior, which is why nobody uses them.

Google offer the whole deal, maps, live traffic, satellite, streetview, indoor maps, oceanography, hell, even ski resorts and mountain trails.

Nothing comes anywhere close to Google mapping.

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Re: ratfox

Off topic a bit, but I'm looking for a company offering maps as extensive as Google, but in the format of Ordinance Survey Street names. Even the Michelin Maps you mention suffers from the smallest roads not being named on the map. Where as Google (possibly bing and Apple too) show almost 100% of names, but in too small a format (you can't zoom when printed! :P ).

Basically, I need to see the street names at all (or most) zoom levels. Ordinance Survey does a 100% street name map, but too far zoomed out, or not listed on the map (grid reference instead). Google maps (and others) do 100% street names but only if you zoom in too far. I'm in a in-between gap in the market. :P

Know of any?

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Anonymous Coward

Google are where they are because they have the best product

it sucks if they are being knobbled because Microsoft and Yahoo's products suck so badly.

We wouldn't stand for speed regulators being fitted to Sebastian Vettel's car, just so everyone else has a chance, how is this any different?

Microsoft need to up it's game, rather than wasting time tying to knobble the competition.

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Anonymous Coward

Monopoly

Just because one provider of a service captures the majority of the market does not make it a monopoly. There are also big differences between Microsoft and its "Bowser Choice" and Google and their search engine.

The biggest difference is, like it or not, that choice is already in built into selecting Google in the first place. The main devices used for web browsing are PCs, Tablets (Usually iPads) and then phones (with iPhones being the biggest web browsing device of smartphones). For PCs you have to actively seek out Google - choose to download Chrome, choose to change your search engine in IE, choose not to use Micrososft's offering. The two Apple products both have Google as a default search engine and they are Google's biggest opponent.

A monopoly is not usually deemed the service provider that most people actively choose to use entirely on their own free will.

As for making the alternate choices of other providers non-chargeable. How would that work? All you would have to do is create a minor search function on your website and then demand that Google give you free advertising to promote your service. There is no reason why Microsoft, Yahoo or anyone else should be allowed free advertising unless everybody is allowed it. As for those bunch of parasites - F'Em, they shouldn't ever be returned on any decent results engine, along with most other meta-search engines.

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Re: Monopoly

It's not about the search monopoly, for christ's sake.

What MS did was leverage a perfectly legit OS monopoly into browsers so its shoddy piece of shit ruled the world.

What Google are doing is leveraging a perfectly legit search monopoly into shopping, finance and other stuff so their shoddy pieces of shit can get all your money.

And they want to charge competitors for competing. Imagine if MS had said "oh okay, we'll hold an auction for which other browser makers offerings you get to install. They have to pay us".

That's what this is., Take off the Google Glass specs and look at the actual world.

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Re: Monopoly

@ dogged

You mean like when MS demanded that any PC maker had to pay the licence on every PC they made even if it didn't have DOS / Windows on it if they wanted to use it ?

That was even worst than the browser thing was......

Oh and Google arn't getting "my money" they are getting money from companies who I can choose to buy from or not. TBH most of the stuff complained about is free on Google like maps but being complained about by people who want to charge me for the same info.

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Re: Monopoly

The problem of course is, this assumes that those other services are in fact inferior, in most cases I find they are not, so would agree with their ranking in the results.

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Re: Monopoly

> The two Apple products both have Google as a default search engine and they are Google's biggest opponent

Actually no. They've switched to Bing as the default - at least on my devices.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Monopoly

Of course it's about the search monopoly. Looking for products is "searching", looking

for finance data is "Searching", looking for addresses is "Searching". Google are trying

to extend their search into other areas of search.

To correct your sentence "What Google are doing is leveraging a perfectly legit search

monopoly into shopping search, finance search and other search so their shoddy pieces

of search-shit can get all your money."

All the complainers are complaining about search. All the remedies suggested are about

things that appear on "search"

It's all about search and both you and the author have missed one of the key issues here.

Which is "lock in".

Microsoft had lock in. That helped make their actions an abuse of monopoly.

Google search does not have lock in. Anyone can change it in less than 10 seconds if they

want to.

The situations are not comparable.

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Re: Monopoly

MS had no browser lock-in.

The situations are comparable.

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Re: Monopoly

And errm .... the default Browser and search engine on Android devices is ....... surely the rules forced on MS should be applied across the industry. In that case Android users should be given a voting opportunity to replace Chrome and Google Search as the defaults.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Monopoly

"It's not about the search monopoly, for christ's sake." ...OK

..."What Google are doing is leveraging a perfectly legit search monopoly"...Oh, so it is about a search monopoly?

"...so their shoddy pieces of shit can get all your money" How do they get my money? If they are shoddy or shit then I don't go near them.

"And they want to charge competitors for competing."

Who wants to charge competitors for competing? Google? I never once realised that Microsoft has to pay Google to run Bing Search, and Bing Maps etc? Or do you mean like Microsoft charge some Android manufacturers a licence fee for competing?

I guess you don't use Google for your searches? If so why do you care, you either stuck with the default or chose a different search provider - it was very easy to do wasn't it?

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Re: Monopoly

It is a monopoly but monopoly are legal unless they are abuse. So far no one been able to prove Google are abusing theirs in a court of law, in fact Google won every case ever brought against it in the US on the ground that it was abusing its monopoly.

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Re: Monopoly

"Just because one provider of a service captures the majority of the market does not make it a monopoly."

It's a pretty good description of a monopoly and a monopoly is NOT ILLEGAL. The simple existence of a monopoly is never the issue: it's whether that monopoly is being abused or was gained by abuse. The response should be to repair any damage already caused and prevent future abuse. Microsoft get hammered because they keep gaining monopolies by abuse.

Right now it's now exactly clear what damage has supposedly already been done, mainly because the whining competitors are so bad at competing they actually need Google to help them. Action to stop future abuse is now being botched because the pack of vermin are too busy working for personal advantage to consider what a fair solution would actually be.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Monopoly

And Google rightly won.

When I search for image hosting, Picasa ISN'T even on the first page. When I search for Social networks, Facebook is the top of the list.

When I search for Maps, Google Maps is there, guess what, it's there because it's the best and most popular search result.

This is how it works, and this is exactly how it should work. Anyone that wants to see fixed results that push crap alternatives up the results list needs their head looking at.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Monopoly

"Re: Monopoly

It is a monopoly but monopoly are legal unless they are abuse".

"Re: Monopoly

"Just because one provider of a service captures the majority of the market does not make it a monopoly."

It's a pretty good description of a monopoly"

Wikipedia: Monopoly

A monopoly exists when a specific person or enterprise is the only supplier of a particular commodity. Monopolies are thus characterized by a lack of economic competition to produce the good or service and a lack of viable substitute goods.

Oxford Dictionary Online: Monopoly

the exclusive possession or control of the supply of or trade in a commodity or service:

a company or group having exclusive control over a commodity or service:

a commodity or service in the exclusive control of a company or group:

[usually with negative] the exclusive possession, control, or exercise of something:

It's not a monopoly!

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Re: Monopoly

"MS had no browser lock-in."

How do I uninstall IE? MS went to a lot of trouble to make sure I could not remove it.

How do I stop Outlook from opening links in IE even if by default browser is Firefox?

When I log onto a computer for the fist time at work I get IE and Bing.

No lock-in my ass.

Even if there was no lock-in it's still not comparable because they are not asking for a choice to let people switch from Google. They want to force Google to add their search results to the top. They want SEO forced on Google. They don't want the chance to replace Google with their product, they want to ride on Google's coat tails.

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Re: Monopoly

> How do I stop Outlook from opening links in IE even if by default browser is Firefox?

Outlook opens links in the default browser. But nice try.

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Re: Monopoly

MS had no browser lock-in.

Not for want of trying. I'm sure ActiveX and DirectX filters are perfectly cross-platform though. The Halloween documents were just a collective bad dream, no?

Having to make two versions of every website.. one for IE, one for everyone else, I'm sure that was just an accident, too. Of course it wasn't an attempt to own the entire World Wide Web, even though Microsoft have effectively admitted that it was.

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Re: Monopoly

Oh, it sucked. But at IE4 (which was when all this kicked off) we were still enjoy the wonder of ActiveX. VBScript support was as bad as it got.

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At the end of the day we have a choice today, if you dont like it dont use it. A decade or more ago Microsoft were in the dock and actively broke down companies and software, big difference and why Microsoft were/still are to an extent massive patent trolls

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Google = Evil

See Title

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Google = Evil

All corporations are evil to some extent, however on the Microsoft and Apple scale of Evil, Google doesn't even register.

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Block sites from results?

Best feature Google could add would be the ability to block certain sites from ever appearing in my search results. What I *really* don't want from a search engine is a link to another search engine - I could go round in circles all day!

Sadly the EU are good at helping companies rather than consumers - link the old Windows stuff where MS had to take out certain features for the EU which just made it difficult for new users to get up and running. Or the stupid cookies rule that means I get stupid bloody popups / banners on every site asking if I want to accept cookies!

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Definitions

A company "being" a monopoly and being in a position to "act" as a monopoly are two totally different things.

Neither Google nor Microsoft were a monopoly through their simply existence - they have both achieved dominance in their respective sectors. Despite what the nay-sayers on here would have everyone believe, Internet Explorer was NOT the only browser available for Windows. Nor is Google the only search engine available to users. You can choose - you have the power to.

But what happens now? Google have 90% of the market - so what do they DO with all of that share? Do they have a responsibility to "the world"?

Many would argue Microsoft had (right or wrongly) shoe-horned their operating system on to 90% of the world's computers - how is this different to Google's Android? Stack 'em high and sell 'em cheap- net result = your product on every device. And now that your product is running on every device, what a perfect opportunity to push all of the other products too. We've all witnessed the recent "Google +"-ification of YouTube and the resulting backlash from users - this is typical Google, and it's typical Microsoft to foist their products on to their Windows customers all those years ago. Buy Windows and get Internet Explorer at no extra cost! Ok, so they didn't word it like that, but that was the intention. So much so that they couldn't be separated from each other once installed.

So now we have Google pushing out their products and services on Android devices (albeit with a bit of skinning allowed from the suppliers like Samsung and HTC) - can you uninstall Google Search from an Android device?

No - because they're the *same thing* - just like IE and Windows were.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Definitions (Can't compete? Cry to Mama EU)

What exceptional product did "Foundem" ever create besides a mediocre shopping comparison site?

Ask the same thing of Google and Microsoft and if you can be honest with yourself you would find they both created truly innovative and useful software.

So Foundem gets to cry wolf to the EU and under false pretenses claim that Google is harming their business when in fact Foundem is manipulating a freindly court to do battle for them since they don't have a product that can compete on ANY stage in any market.

Does the EU honestly think people are really that easy to dupe?

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Sel

Don't be evil

Is being monopolistic b@st@rds to sales and marketing guys evil? Surely that is the way the S&M crowd want the world to be? (At least if their actions are to speak louder than their words)

The EU should order Google not to include that annoying shopping box at the top at all. There is a link for google's shopping 'product' that people can click on if they are into that sort of thing. All other google services should be included in the yellow stained 'had to pay to be here, not here on merit' area at the top.

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PJI

Flabbergasted

Amazed, astonished, astounded at all these comments defending poor little Google for methods that would get Apple, Microsoft or any other large company a shed load of abusive comments.

Are you all paid for this or get some massive discount or air miles?

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Re: Flabbergasted

No, just a lot of people that can see through transparent bullshit being peddled by the likes of Fairsearch.

Google are not some innocent flower, but you are not forced in the slightest way to use their search engine. Neither is anybody else. Don't you remember a few years ago, when people were cheering over Google downgrading listings from the very same "vertical search" companies that are now trying to force Google to put them back in the top ten?

You want their search engine to go back to the way it was 5, 6 years ago, where far too many search results pointed at search engines, which pointed to more search engines, which pointed to more search engines?

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