back to article EU under pressure to slap non-compliance notice on Google over pay-to-play 'remedy'

Calls are mounting for the European Commission to issue a non-compliance notice against Google over attempts to address complaints about its market dominance. In June the commission found Google had abused its general search supremacy to illegally favour its own service over rival comparison shopping websites – landing it a €2 …

Anonymous Coward

What are you waiting for EU? Fine them NOW!

And do the same to Facebook while you are at it. Better still ban them from operating in the EU.

And Google, get your act together and allow us mere mortals to be 'forgotten' without going through endless and expensive hoops.

You (FB, Google and the rest) have had it all too easy up to now. Far too easy to suck all of our data and far too easy to sell it on again. That has to stop and Now!

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Facepalm

Re: What are you waiting for EU? Fine them NOW!

This is tangentially related to data slurping at best.

But while we're on the subject, do you really think an EU based company doing the same job wouldn't do exactly the same?

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Re: Waiting for the EU is a waste of time

EU fines are large and fund reduced taxes for everyone, but never hold your breathe. Previous judgements from the EU took so long to arrive that the market changed drastically. Both the complainer and the complaint became irrelevant by the time the fine arrived.

The right to be forgotten laws just point an enormous Streisand at whatever you did that you now find embarrassing. Just create some fake news with your name, someone else's picture and a random address. That will push your cock-up down the ranks far faster than farting about with paperwork.

I remember Foundem from when this complaint first started. Price comparison sites are all lousy, some are dishonest but Foundem stood out as being particularly craptacular. They must have put in considerable effort to drive visitors away and earn a bottom of page ten rank.

Luckily for them, Microsoft was getting close to the end of another abuse of monopoly power argument with the EU, and their lawyers were looking for a way to justify their pay checks. At the time Microsoft thought they could squash Google and own the internet. The way forward was clear: Microsoft would give free legal advise to anyone with something resembling a complaint against Google that could be taken to the EU. There is more money available for complaining about Google to the EU than their is for a fourth rate price comparison site.

If you go not like Google, use a different search engine.

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Re: Waiting for the EU is a waste of time

Reduced taxes for everyone? There are around 750 million people in the EU, if we assume half of them are taxpayers, a 3.75 billion euro fine - which would be pretty sizeable even for a company like Google - would reduce the taxes by 10 euros per person on average. For a single year.

I don't think you should think about fines in that way, they won't be large enough or numerous enough to have a noticeable impact on taxes. Besides, all the money collected is probably eaten up by enforcement - not just of successful settlements, but all the times they investigate and end up doing nothing.

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Re: Waiting for the EU is a waste of time

> ... fund reduced taxes for everyone ...

Hahahahaha. Hahaha.

No.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: What are you waiting for EU? Fine them NOW!

But while we're on the subject, do you really think an EU based company doing the same job wouldn't do exactly the same?

What, a hypothetical EU technology leader offering extensive services in return for user data? Do you think we'd have enough to even make a list?

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Anonymous Coward

Criminal Records etc

Why is no individual held responsible for things like this? I know these are corporations etc but if the person accountable for implementing a illegal or non-complying act were individually given a criminal record / their 'good name' dragged through the mud or similar so that they were personally 'punished' would these corporations be so quick to try to cheat the rules?

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Re: Criminal Records etc

So far they haven't been proven to be non-compliant, deliberately non-compliant, or criminally so.

Rules are rules but if the rules have loopholes they need to be closed. It is unreasonable to expect companies and people not to exploit loopholes they find. If it's not against the rules then how is it cheating or wrong?

I do think Google have been sneaky bastards and that needs to be stopped. But I can't begrudge them being sneaky bastards.

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Re: Criminal Records etc

One of the major advantages of corporate structure is to distribute responsibility and make it very very difficult to hold individuals liable for the actions of the collective. The EU might think twice about holding anyone criminally liable for the actions of a corporation, as the next logical step would be to hold individuals criminally liable for the actions of the EU!

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Re: Criminal Records etc

OK: someone gets convicted, there is an article covering the conviction on the online version of a local newspaper. Years pass and the conviction is spent but the article is still there, probably with a single author and a pitiful amount of cash in reserve for legal defence. The author might stand up to one person but find two others he has written about with spent convictions and you should be able to get him to wipe himself of the internet. The down side is that will not get you any cash. To make a living from this you have to sue someone with money.

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Having had a look at the complaint, there is a fallacy inherent within their logic.

They dismiss Google's promise to run Google Shopping with a profit as "meaningless accountancy"

Yet, since Google Shopping needs to participate within the auction it is, for practical purposes, a third party in this matter.

The Google Shopping entity (which is distinct from the Google which shows you the search page) is under all of the same restrictions as the true third parties, which was the point of the promise to run Google Shopping with a profit. True, they were massively ahead in terms of integration but that was to be expected.

The complainant's points about Google taking most of the profit from them is true, but they're deliberately ignoring the fact that most of the money that Google Shopping takes isn't usable by the wider Alphabet group.

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Agree

They are accusing Google of "taking money from one pocket and putting it into another". But that would mean Google is taking money from its own pockets rather than accepting the money from its rivals. There's no advantage for Google to do that. If the rivals were super good and Google Shopping was not competitive, Google would just happily shut down their own product and take the money from the rivals instead. It's not like they've never shut down products before.

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Re: Agree

That's one possibility. Another is the long game approach to monopoly, take a hit on potential profit for the moment to kill off all your rivals. Once all rivals are dead, bring prices up, erect barriers to entry, control the market, influence legislation to maintain the status quo.

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"The Google Shopping entity (which is distinct from the Google which shows you the search page) is under all of the same restrictions as the true third parties, which was the point of the promise to run Google Shopping with a profit. "

It's a legal and accounting fiction though. IIRC, ToysRUs in the UK would have been in profit if the US parent, a separate legal entity, wasn't bilking the UK operation for every last penny to support it's US loss making operation. If they are owned by a parent or part of a group, then money can be transferred at the whim of the execs.

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WTF?

Blocking Comparison Web Sites And Foundem

I am looking for a widget so I go to Google to find a widget, that is available, at what price and how to get the item. What do not want is a dumb comparison site that has no one with available widgets. As for Foundem I tried the site several times; what does it do? I have never ever found anything even when I specifically tried it directly.

So how do I block ever seeing another waste of time comparison site and especially the likes of cannot-find-anything aka Foundem which in my experience should be done under the trades misinterpretation laws .

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Blocking Comparison Web Sites And Foundem

Well Foundem only exists now as an entity that can sue Google for damage if the EU agrees with them. Their website has been dead for years already. And they say that it's because it's impossible to compete against Google; but then how come Kelkoo and Idealo are still in business?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Blocking Comparison Web Sites And Foundem

I found that with a lot of the original complainants. In most cases I didn't use their products, not because google didn't show them to me first, but because they were inferior.

A lot of the complainants looked like they hadn't updated their sites since the geocities days, and it felt more like they couldn't compete on quality, so tried to use an excuse as a way to hamstring their biggest opponent.

I'm not saying google haven't abused their position, they very well may have. I'm just saying that the people complaining weren't really competition to begin with.

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Re: Blocking Comparison Web Sites And Foundem

Kelkoo still alive? Wow, my blocking of their annoying crap must've been entirely successful over [mumble] years. Something works!

The others you mention don't even ring a bell. Except sue, grabit and foundem: evidently the nastiest of all!

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Hmm

"In June the commission found Google had abused its general search supremacy to illegally favour its own service over rival comparison shopping websites"

So google prefers to sell google on google? Nooo! Do bears shit in the woods? Next you will tell me other businesses promote and sell their own stuff! How do we cope?

Sometimes I wonder how some people have the brain power to breath.

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Re: Hmm

Yes, Google prefers to sell products through Google shopping, the issue the EC had was that they were using their dominance in the natural search and paid search to muscle in on the Search Comparison market.

This is why Google shopping is now a "third party" for practical purposes to the part of Google that provides the results page.

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Re: Hmm

@ ArrZarr

"the issue the EC had was that they were using their dominance in the natural search and paid search to muscle in on the Search Comparison market."

So the popular web service google was chosen by the person searching and google displays the results google would like to show. Again if this is a shock to people I wonder how they manage to think enough to breathe.

People are free to stop selling and buying through google. They are free to use other sites and even price compare for themselves!

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Re: Hmm

How do Alexa, Siri and Google Home handle this problem?

If you ask a question, do you want to be told to check a comparison site for the answer?

If the comparison sites must get a fair bite of your cherry, does that mean they must all get told your question, so one answer can be 'fairly' selected?

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Re: Hmm

@Codejunky

It wasn't a shock to anybody, it was merely judged to be monopolist and therefore anti consumer by the EC.

I was originally pro Google on that case but having looked into it further, I agree with the ruling.

The new challenge is total bollocks and I hope it will fail.

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Re: Hmm

@ ArrZarr

"It wasn't a shock to anybody, it was merely judged to be monopolist and therefore anti consumer by the EC."

How is it monopolist? What does it do that nobody else can do? If the criteria to be monopolist is to be popular then what is the point in aiming to be successful?

"I was originally pro Google on that case but having looked into it further, I agree with the ruling."

What was it that changed your mind? We are all welcome to our opinions and to change them as the information changes our perception. I wouldnt mind a look.

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Re: Hmm

my view changed because of a really fiddly distinction.

Originally, my view was:

Of course people using Google shopping, it's on the Google search page and users go there to find stuff anyway. Therefore what they're doing is fine.

However, I eventually came to realise that the monopoly Google have in the Natural Search space did mean that any Shopping Comparison service that it offered on its SERP (Search Engine Results Page) would have an unfair advantage over competitors in the Shopping Comparison space. The important thing is that Google's dominance in one space was being (ab)used to gain an overwhelming advantage in a new space which has crushed the opportunities for existing Shopping Comparison engines.

From the above, I agree with the ruling that Google was using monopolist practices.

Please also bear in mind that it's the letter of the ruling that I agree with - the specific question about monopolist practices in the Shopping Comparison space.

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Re: Hmm

"People are free to stop selling and buying through google. They are free to use other sites and even price compare for themselves!"

Because they are near as dammit a monopoly. Google has even been verbified by the general public. How often to people "google" for something instead of search, even if they are using a different search engine?

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Re: Hmm

@ John Brown (no body)

"Because they are near as dammit a monopoly. Google has even been verbified by the general public. How often to people "google" for something instead of search, even if they are using a different search engine?"

And that is why everyone owns a hoover. With the only other brand of vacuum cleaner being a dyson. Doesnt matter that there are many vacuum cleaners of many names in the market it is the hoover. And yes people will google what they want to know, so what? Having a memorable name or a successful brand doesnt make a monopoly. Being popular isnt having a monopoly.

Enjoy- https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_generic_and_genericized_trademarks

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I gave up on google a long time ago, due to its inability to produce an accurate link for my search term..... without me having to dig through the higher ranked (by google) but less accurate crud first. The problem is that governments only pay lip service to the idea of holding big business to account, as institutions, they are after all as corrupt as each other

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InBody:, Intext:, Inheader:, Insane shit

Here's a test for you.

Open two tabs in your favorite browser and go to google in one and bing in the other.

Then enter this search phrase into both. "InBody:bearing 6205-2rs", sans the quotes. Do not use either ones shopping tab, just the generic search.

They pretty much come up with the same results. They both have paid AD results at the beginning of the listings. The only difference is that bing will have paid results, with images to the right of the search list and google doesn't. I attribute this to the fact that I have gooleadservices and doubleclick both sinkholed in my Host file. I haven't bothered to sinkhole bings ad servers because I usually don't use bing.

So, what I want to know is, Why Hasn't Bing been sued, fined, and put under mandatory regulation for the same thing that google has been accused/prosecuted/fined for.

Makes no damn sense to me..................

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Joke

Re: InBody:, Intext:, Inheader:, Insane shit

Because (and stop me if this answer is overly technical), nobody cares about Bing.

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