back to article Euro Parliament VOTES to BREAK UP GOOGLE. Er, OK then

The European Parliament is gunning for Google. In a completely unenforceable symbolic gesture today, it voted to “unbundle search engines from commercial services” (which would, in effect mean the breakup of Google). The so-called "Resolution on the Digital Single Market" – proposed by German MEP Andreas Schwab and his Spanish …

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I am a bit confused

Sometimes I use Google search, but I am not required to use their other services to get search results. Sometimes I use a different search engine, but that does not prevent me from using Google's other services. How are they bundled?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: I am a bit confused

"How are they bundled?"

The Borg bundle sits own advertising results in with your search results. And advertising - together with search - is where most of the money and power is online. Also The Borg bundles it's online search with its mobile phone OS, its browser etc.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: I am a bit confused

Exactly, and I can't use a different EU Parliment when I want.

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Re: How are they bundled?

They're returned with prominence in the search results. Is it the excellence of their services that put them at the top of the list? Is it Google pretending to do just a search while shoe horning in ads for their own services that results in their services prominence?

Surely anyone can see there is a potential for a conflict of interest here. It's not tricky.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: How are they bundled?

To aprevious poster: Yes you can have an different European Parliament if you want one. You just need to persuade enough people to vote for it.

Let me guess, you didn't bother voting.............

To those who say the vote as a waster of time, don't forget the Parliament can remove the Commission if they want to, so the Commission will at least pay a fair amount of attention to a vote like this.

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Re: How are they bundled?

Yeah but some people seem to think that this utterly trivial issue of search & advertising company promotes its own search & advertising is somehow important when in fact its frikking obvious.

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Re: How are they bundled?

" some people seem to think that this utterly trivial issue of search & advertising company promotes its own search & advertising is somehow important"

s/issue of search & advertising company promotes its own search & advertising/MEP/

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Megaphone

the fix is really quite simple

if the EC cannot stand the Google business model, they can apply to be delisted from search results. and then EC nations will not be indexed or reachable from Google or its Chrome browser. simple. effective. final. how about it, pinheads?

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WTF?

Re: How are they bundled? - Groundwork for EuroSearch

The last time Parliament removed the Commission for the sort of gross corruption that one normally sees in African dictatorships run by despotic ex-Corporals, the Commissioners just re-appointed themselves a week later with bigger cars, refurbished offices and hugely increased salaries.

The likelihood of your vote having any effect whatsoever on the EU is on a par with the Pope being a Lizard from Alpha Centauri. Which, of course, is why hardly anyone bothers. To equate the EU's blatant sham of a 'democratic' Parliament to the original poster being able to use a different search engine is too ludicrous for words.

I must assume that you work for the EU's propaganda department, and are one of an army of infilitrators preparing us for the introduction of EuroSearch, which will only return results that further the cause of European integration, and automatically detect the IP of anyone deemed to have criticised the EU.

Google could be a serious competitor to this, so must be emasculated.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: How are they bundled? - Groundwork for EuroSearch

So when was this exactly and which cars did they get? Who got exactly how much more money afterwards? Who was corruptly getting what and what did they get afterwards?

I'm afraid it sounds like you're making a desperate attempt to throw some mud in the hope that it will stick.

BTW. You might want to stop reading the Daily Mail and get out once in a while.... or perhaps you work for Google?

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FAIL

Re: How are they bundled?

@ sabroni

Google's success amongst a miriad of search engines is a result of providing the best answers to user's queries. If they didn't provide the answers that users want, Bing (is that still going?) and others are only a few clicks away.

Only a moron would fail to distinguish between the ads and the answers.

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Re: How are they bundled?

Arguably google have hidden their own services a bit now anyway, putting them as they have under a stupid dotted icon.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: How are they bundled?

"Only a moron would fail to distinguish between the ads and the answers"

I'm sure you'll agree that the world is full of morons...

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Anonymous Coward

Re: I am a bit confused

It's bundled because Google give you lots of free stuff in exchange for getting data to enhance their search. In short, if this goes through, then you can kiss goodbye to getting anything free from Google. All it's non-search businesses will either get sold off, closed down, or have to start making money elsewhere.

Forget Android being given away free to anyone that wants it. No way can Google fund it's development without the revenue it generates from search.

Ditto for Gmail, ditto for Picasa, ditto for Google Maps, etc etc etc.

This is what Microsoft clearly want (and lets' not pretend Microsoft aren't pulling the strings here).

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Anonymous Coward

Re: and lets' not pretend Microsoft aren't pulling the strings here

Oh no, it's been said 3 times in this thread, "Microsoft", "Microsoft", "Microsoft". The boogeyman! He's coming!!! To take our ADVERTS!!!!!!

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Meh

@ plrndl

Yes, I know. Only a moron would think the fact that their search is good means that they should be able to finagle themselves up the results list when they have a product to sell.

You didn't address my point, which was that there is a conflict of interest between the best search results for the user (ie. most relevant) and for google (ie. promotes their other products). Care to engage on that?

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Re: How are they bundled?

"Google pretending to do just a search "

When did Google say it was just a search?

How does "just a search" make any money?

If it can't make money, how does it stay open?

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This post has been deleted by a moderator

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Re: @ plrndl

"You didn't address my point, which was that there is a conflict of interest between the best search results for the user (ie. most relevant) and for google (ie. promotes their other products). Care to engage on that?"

Google run the fucking website. Search is not a public service. It's not pay for by any government or tax dollars. There are many alternatives to Google. Search costs money; without it, you can't run a search engine of any kind, let alone at Google's scale. People acutally want Google services. The majority of searches for relevant services are predicated with "Google": for example, "Google Maps".

There's no reason Google shouldn't be able to promote it's own services on it's own website. You aren't forced to use it. Two out of the three top browsers (Firefox and Internet Explorer) which are responsible for 75% of the browser market between them default to Yahoo and Bing (respectively).

With the exception of Chromebooks, Google Chorme is not shipped by default with the operating system. (It doesn't ship by default on Samsung Android devices, which make up the overwhelming majority of Android, and it isn't on iOS devices either.)

Users are making a conscious choice to choose Google. They are choosing Google willingly. They like Google as it is, and they don't want it changed. They prefer Google services to those of others because they are legitimately superior.

Why should WalMart not be allowed to sell own-branded goods in it's own stores? Should Amazon not be allowed to sell/promote it's video or cloud computing services on it's main website? Why is Microsoft allowed to build in support for Azure Active Directory to Windows 10 or Azure Hyper-V Replica into Windows Server? Why should Apple be allowed to build iCloud into their phones instead of offering a choice that includes Dropbox?

There is no reason. Like Google, none of those examples are monopolies. In fact, some of them are defaults; something Google emphatically is not.

This isn't "Microsoft bundling IE." People must make an actual choice</I. to use Google's services here, and there are umpteen alternatives. In fact, there are alternatives enabled <i>by default that they must bypass to get to Google.

Does that address your bullshit?

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Re: and lets' not pretend Microsoft aren't pulling the strings here

Trevor, if you must be a fanboi, please be more subtle.

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Re: and lets' not pretend Microsoft aren't pulling the strings here

I've no love for Google. But this Redmondian-backed witch hunt is fucking clown shoes. There's better shit we could all be doing than dealing with this. More important stuff - in the IT industry even - that would benefit the people far more than this.

And make no mistake, this is nothing more than a witch hunt. And I've no respect for puritans of any stripe.

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Unhappy

Re: and lets' not pretend Microsoft aren't pulling the strings here

Trevor, seriously, get some help.

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Anonymous Coward

I vote to break up the European Parliment

Why vote if it can't be done?

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Re: I vote to break up the European Parliment

because it's the European Parliament, they live to waste time and money.

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Re: I vote to break up the European Parliment

When questioned, the 458 MEPs voting to break up Google, admitted they used Google for search on the Internet.

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Re: I vote to break up the European Parliment

They voted to put a motion before the commission to consider breaking up Google as a possible measure... They didn't vote to break up Google per se.

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So lets say they get their wish somehow.....somehow.

"Google Search" just licenses "Google Products" as a preferred partner and as part of the deal agrees to put them top of all search results and pays them $5bn for the privilege. In 99% of the shares obviously.

Even open it up for bidding and let anyone propose to be a preferred partner then outbid them as they are paying themselves anyway.

Or just tell them to fudge off and suggest they break up the European union first.

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Big Brother

"suggest they break up the European union first"

Good idea. At least Google's 'monopoly' is caused by its own efficiency, not by a fifty-year farrago of lies and deceit, bribery and political bullying.

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Re: "suggest they break up the European union first"

"fifty-year farrago of lies and deceit, bribery and political bullying"

Which, of course, is naturally worse than 1000 years of the same, plus murder, rape, incest, pedophilia, war, more war, pointless war, religious war, the burning of witches, crusades, and hounding homosexuals to suicide. Oh, and the publicly stated desire to not be bound by the "shackles" of human rights.

Yeah, I can really see why the alternative is so attractive you.

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Re: "suggest they break up the European union first"

"Which, of course, is naturally worse than 1000 years of the same, plus murder, rape, incest, pedophilia, war, more war, pointless war, religious war, the burning of witches, crusades, and hounding homosexuals to suicide. Oh, and the publicly stated desire to not be bound by the "shackles" of human rights."

Which was of course stopped solely by our mates in Brussels. NATO had nothing to do with it, obviously.

How's that koolaid taste by the way?

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Re: "suggest they break up the European union first"

Seems to me they're the only restraining the excesses of your xenophobic and increasingly authoritarian police-state worshiping rulers, yes.

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Doesn't this also affect Microsoft/Bing, as well as Yahoo? They both have a search engine and commercial services don't they?

I'm sure there are others.

Edit: According to the Daily Fail, Apple are working on their own search engine. Not much point now is there?

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Yes and no...

It is like the sanctions against Microsoft, why weren't they also made against Apple and Linux? Because they didn't have over 90% market share. In most of Europe Google has an "unfair" advantage over other search services, because they have over 90% of the search market sewn up.

In Germany for example, they have around 95%. The problem is the rivals like Bing were useless at non-English search for a very long time. Only in the last year or so have they become remotely usable, but that is too late for many, because everybody just googles. In German when you do a search, you have gegooglt, not gebingt or geyahoot...

That said, Google's results have been becoming less and less relevant over the last year or so. At the moment, when I do a search for problems with a device, the first 2 pages are usually links to eshops and price comparison sites! If I'm having problems with a device, then it is very probably that I have already bought it, and if I am having problems with it, I probably don't want to buy another one!

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which Google are you using, big_D

>>the first 2 pages are usually links to eshops and price comparison sites!

Are you talking about the first 2 resulted links or the the first 2 pages of results?

If it's the latter, we must be using very different google engines.

Here's a few examples: compare

google's wifi+problem+on+incredible

vs.

bing's wifi+problem+on+incredible

Both queries brought almost no ads for me: AMOF, Bing got one and Google did none. BTW, I use Firefox+ NoScript with google.com being allowed and bing.com being disallowed by default. On ff both queries are almost instantaneous. Interesting to note also, that when I use a text browser without js, like w3m, bing is busy with uploading a lot of cookies and takes a few seconds to finish, while google fetches as fast as it does on ff.

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(un)fair advantage

>>It is like the sanctions against Microsoft, why weren't they also made against Apple and Linux? Because they didn't have over 90% market share.

Fair and unfair. Here's the difference. A search engine is not imposed on a user. One can EASILY change it to his/her liking. Neither Google nor MS Tax is involved at this point.

Compare it with you buying a desktop or a laptop with 90% + of preinstalled MS Windows having the license cost already included and bundled with the price of the PC. No easy disentanglement of this bundle exists out there, neither MS nor a PC manuf. would reimburse you for the unwanted software.

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Re: which Google are you using, big_D

It seems to go in phases @eulampios, sometimes I'll get good results, then for a couple of months, using the same sort of search terms, I get nothing but shopping sites and price comparisons, then the formula gets tweaked again and it is back to normal...

I use Firefox with NoScript and google.de

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Re: (un)fair advantage

It isn't about buying and it isn't that you can't change search engines, although most people don't know any others than Google and if you are not a native English speaker, there isn't much choice at all, the others, as I said above, have been next to useless until recently.

The problem is similar to the problem with Microsoft. Not that you couldn't buy a PC with anything else, but that, because of that situation, they could use their sway to push other products on you at a disadvantage to the competition.

E.g. Internet Explorer and Media Player pretty much killed the browser and music player market for a long time, especially for commercial products, people suddenly stopped buying products like MusicMaker Jukebox and just used MP. The same with browsers.

Here Google is using its position as a search engine to push its own products - which from a shareholder's perspective is what you want, from an open market position is however and abuse of dominant position. Google can't win, just like Microsoft couldn't win.

In fact, Google has already started to comply in some ways, offerng 4 alternative route planners above maps.google.de, for example.

They needed to be pushed to do this, they have done it, but the regulators are slow to react and the other companies lobbying for a weaker Google smell blood and aren't satisfied that Google is not promoting its own products in first place any more, they want to see Google stripped back until they can compete.

It will be like Microsoft, by the time the sanctions have been agreed upon, they will be irrelevant. The Browser Ballot was a good idea in 1999, by the time it was implemented in 2005, there was already competition and by 2010 it was no longer really needed - yet it still persists today, even though it is pretty irrelevant.

I think we will see something similar with Google.

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Re: which Google are you using, big_D

>>sometimes I'll get good results, then for a couple of months

I can't recall a similar experience you describe. I would hate 2 first pages of ads as well. It's weird though, I am allergic to ads, especially, the obtrusive, idiotic type and I am still okay with Google, a company having their main source of income in ads. They must somehow be doing it in a pretty UNobtrusive and quieter than others for me way. Say, gmail vs yahoomail in their webmail form. Yahoo used to be so bad, I couldn't stand it for a couple minutes, while when I need to get out of Mutt or GNUS, my main email clients, and use webmail on gmail, I can tolerate all their ads!

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(un)fair advantage

>>It isn't about buying and it isn't that you can't change search engines...

What this choice or lack thereof is about then?

>>here isn't much choice at all, the others, as I said above, have been next to useless until recently.

Which choice are you talking about now? Is it no choice because it doesn't exist on this planet no-choice, or a user has no-choice because he/she is not presented/informed about one?

>>The problem is similar to the problem with Microsoft.

In my opinion, it's not.

>>...because of that situation, they could use their sway to push other products on you at a disadvantage to the competition.

It is COMPETITION, if you can push the products along with results when somewhat better search algorithm is used. It is fine. If Google ever had an analog to the Vista fiasco, they would have been sunk into oblivion by now. Not true for MS, they have locked so many customers in, "collaborated" with so many universities, schools that even after having fallen so low they still continue to prosper. The cost of using Google search is not bundled with any other cost (with no way to get a refund for it by the EULA, like with the Windows Tax). This again greatly differentiates the two cases.

Yeah, INHMO, I am using LMDE (Linux Mint Debian Edition) here, it's better than Windows in almost every single aspect there. Windows is still preinstalled and imposed on me and other users for our own cost. Just received a call for help from an acquaintance, her recent Windows 8 brand new laptop "got a virus", or simply being very slow. AMOF, her 10-year old breaking apart hardware-wise laptop is still working okay since I installed XFCE Ubuntu on it, 3 years now.

So, point me at the similarities sways that Google and Microsoft implement again?

>>Browser Ballot was a good idea in 1999, by the time it was implemented in 2005, there was already competition and by 2010 it was no longer really needed - yet it still persists today, even though it is pretty irrelevant.

It was anything, but not the best idea. Like giving a speeding ticket to a serial killer.

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Re: which Google are you using, big_D

I've noticed it as well, across four browser families with mixed extensions ranging from none (Chrome on Nexus 7) to extreme paranoid lengths (don't even ask). It's relatively recent, I know that.

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Re: (un)fair advantage

@eulampios: When you are 90+% of the search market choice becomes irrelevant. With great power comes great responsibility.

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Re: (un)fair advantage

Google is collaborating with universities and schools, pushing their docs / business apps or whatever they are called at the moment, and Gmail.

As to buying a PC, a PC with Windows generally costs 50€ - 100€ more than one with only FreeDOS installed over here. We generally buy the FreeDOS versions and install Linux on them, before we push them out to customers.

As to the competition and pushing products, that is the point that is under debate. Should Google be giving its products prominence over others, just because they belong to Google? Is that a misuse of their position in search. That is why there is talk of breaking them up. If they are separate companies with no financial interest in promoting those products, then there should be no conflict of interest. That is the point of discussion.

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Re: (un)fair advantage

>>As to buying a PC, a PC with Windows generally costs 50€ - 100€ more than one with only FreeDOS installed over here.

With the same specks? Lucky you, we don't have it here in America. The question of MS Windows Tax is not only about the monopoly of Microsoft it's about the collusion between independent companies. Since, why would you bundle the products of HP and MS, two separate entities? Let MS buy HP or the other way around, or otherwise make unbundling possible (like it was done by an Italian court recently).

>>Should Google be giving its products prominence over others, just because they belong to Google?

In your original post it was more of pushing ads vs relevant information, since you complained about 2 first pages full of eshop links when searching for a phone issue (the situation I I had never experienced myself).

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Stop

Bing is also useless at even English searches..

Let's not hobble Google just because they are the only company doing a good job with search. You don't break the leg of the fastest athelete just to give others a chance....

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Re: (un)fair advantage

"Should Google be giving its products prominence over others, just because they belong to Google?"

Yes. Just like every other fucking company on earth is allowed to do.

"Is that a misuse of their position in search. "

No. Because decent alternatives exist, and you are not forced to use Google. In fact, you must go out of your way to do so. Regardless of the past, today good alternatives exist. At least "god enough" for the average punter. People use Google because they want to. Why should it be hobbled artificially with restrictions that don't apply to it's competitors when it isn't locking anyone in to anything?

This is very different from an actual monopoly abusing it's dominant position.

What is perhaps the most important element here is that the consumer is not harmed by Google's actions. They are getting the superior service for the lowest possible price available and are not prevented or even discouraged from looking for alternative services. The only people who face any difficulties are A) Google's competitors who must actually pay for advertising and B) Politicos who cannot control the people if they cannot control the message.

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Re: (un)fair advantage

'Yes. Just like every other fucking company on earth is allowed to do.'

EXCEPT WHEN THEY ARE A MONOPOLY!!! Christ Trevor, it's not that fucking hard. A link to gmail when signed in at the top/bottom of the page isn't a problem. Advertising your own platform on your own search engine when you have 90%+ of the market sewn up is. It is the very definition of "abusive monopoly".

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Re: (un)fair advantage

Bullshit, witch hunter. Bull fucking shit. Steaming piles of it.

A monopoly is allowed to advertise adjacent services in conjunction with their primary service. They aren't allowed to lock you into it, or attempt to use their monopoly to force or coerce you to use their adjacent services.

Google are not doing any of the above. They are promoting their services on their site...but they also provide a mechanism for others to promote competing services on their site. There is no lock in. There is no exclusivity in advertising. They are not abusing their near-monopoly in any way.

Just as my local telco can offer me "quad play" services by giving me discounts for bundling mobile, television, land line and internet, so too can Google advertise their other services.

In fact, Google aren't even offering a "discount" for using their services. There isn't anything remotely like the sort of high-pressure lock-in I get from a telco. I can give you at least 50 really good examples of companies that abuse their monopoly or near-monopoly positions, but in this case, Google is not doing that.

There are a hundred damned good reasons to hate on Google and try to see them censured. Why the metric fucknobbin are you lot screaming into the inky blackness of despair with only the one fucking thing they aren't actually doing wrong as your candle?

Jesus metric monkey fuck, people. if you want to hammer Google get them for something that will actually stand up in court. They aren't abusing a search monopoly. This is nothing more than a witch hunt and you lot can't figure out how much a fucking duck weighs.

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@Handy Plough

Are you sure? I think you're mistaken. FYI, gmail is not on the top of the ALL search results when looking for "mail" keyword:

google.com

google.co.uk

google.de

google.ru

As you can see only the German result puts gmail at the top. In the .com and .ru option, you get yahoo and mail.ru,resp., above gmail. So this might indicate that Google do not really put their own products above their competitors, relevance could be their main priority. Interesting, that bing does a similar thing there.

This happens when gmail is the most popular mail service on the planet. So are saying that Google should intentionally underrate their products below their own products promoting their competitors'?

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Re: @Handy Plough

Indeed.

If you want to find evidence of abuse by Google, look at their advertising agreements and ask "are Google saying you can't advertise with other search engines?" Look at Android and ask if they are preventing people from feilding phones based on other OSes if they choose to feild a Google-branded Android one. Can they feild a Fire-based and an Android-based phone at the same time?

"We are advertising our services on our own website while we also give others the ability to advertise on our own website" is not abuse.

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Which services are they actually talking about?

It's a long time sincle I searched for 'free webmail' on Google, or any other search engine.

And if by 'commercial services' they mean 'adverts' then how else do you pay for the search?

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