back to article Google stabs Wikipedia in the front

Anyone who doubts the impact of Google's power - it's currently the subject of an antitrust complaint to the European Commission by vertical search companies - needs to read this. The complaints to the Competition Commission maintain that Google's arbitrary promotion of its own material harms the market. But in this case, the …

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  1. JDX Gold badge

    The thing is, if I search for something and Google can show me what I need without me having to manually load another page, that's of benefit to my user experience.

    1. Chris Miller

      Quite so. Sometimes I'm just looking for a single quick fact - the half-life of nickel-56 or the GDP of Luxembourg - and if my search engine shows me the answer straight away, that's great. Sometimes I'm looking for a more in depth article, in which case I may well end up on Wikipedia. I would guess that my actual visits to Wikipedia have significantly declined as a result, though my 'dwell time' probably hasn't altered much.

      1. bluest.one

        And here's another point - when I need a bit of information on something, going to the Wkipedia page is sometimes a laborious process of reinterpreting what's written there or finding the specific piece of info I need. The salient points might not be in the first paragraph, but the fourth. Or the second paragraph of the third section.

        The Google cards often get straight to the point in most cases. And wikipedia (or other resources) are there if I need more.

        It's competition: Google are genuinely offering something Wikipedia aren't and clearly meeting a need - hence the wiki page views dropping.

    2. Richard 81

      Agreed. Providing that information is correct and isn't littered with corporate spam, of course.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      That's fine, as long as Google are showing you the best information, not just automatically their own information. Google are pretty close to a monopoly, there are many people for whom you click the big blue E or the swirly fox to open Google. Google is in turn is the Internet. This is partly the legacy of people who setup mum and dad's PCs, so as smarty pants engineers we have to take a bit of the blame. The problem is that as "The Internet" Google are in a position to crush any competition, I seriously doubt that Google's offering (that I've never heard of) is better than Wikipedia and I'd much rather click on a link to get something accurate - or at least looked at by many more people who could correct - than have one or two person's opinion spouted back to me inline with my search results.

      1. Joe Harrison Silver badge

        New year's resolutions

        For those of us on diets this is a valuable resource - typing "calories potato" will bring up the information I want (how many calories in a potato) immediately. Otherwise it is a hell of clicking links all over the place and wading through invitations to sign up for a free diet club account etc.

        Also there is a surprising lack of consensus about the energy content of certain foods and the search preview usually turns out to be the most accurate.

        1. Eguro
          Meh

          Re: New year's resolutions

          @Joe

          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Potato#Nutrition

          That was difficult! All those dietary clubs I had to join! At least now I'm a life time member of the Wiki-diet-watchers monthly club. . .

          1. Simon Harris Silver badge

            Re: New year's resolutions

            @Eguro

            Given a choice between typing "calories potato" and "http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Potato#Nutrition", I suppose you might burn off a fraction more of a calorie typing in the wikipedia url.

            When I type "calories potato" into google, I get the quick answer in the left hand column, and more complete nutritional information (sourced from Wikipedia, with a link to their potato page) on the right.

            Actually for most factoids I tried, which could be expressed as a simple answer on the left, I got more complete information on the right, with a quote from and link to the appropriate Wikipedia page - could not the fact that Google is quoting from Wikipedia each time be counted somehow in Wikipedia's statistics?

            1. Eguro

              Re: New year's resolutions

              @Simon

              Fair enough. For me it's typing "w potato" to get to the wiki page on potato

              Now granted it might not work as well for stock prices or calculator stuff

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: New year's resolutions

          > For those of us on diets this is a valuable resource

          ....

          > Otherwise it is a hell of clicking links all over the place

          Surely the exercise involved in a few extra clicks would be welcome? Every calorie counts and all that. :-)

        3. Cryo

          Re: New year's resolutions

          Is this a big potato or a small potato? What kind of potato is it? Does this include the skin, that you may or may not be eating? Google's quick result gives "163 calories" for "1 Potato medium (2-1/4" to 3-1/4" dia)". According to the detailed nutrition information off to the side,such a potato weighs "213g". Interestingly though, clicking through the first search result also provides the nutrition facts for a presumably equal-sized "1 potato medium (2-1/4" to 3-1/4" dia)", but says it's only 129 calories and weighs 173g. They at least provide the information that these values including the skin though. So, which is closer to a typical-sized medium potato? Should I trust the site Google most recommends, that specializes in providing nutrition information for various foods, or Google themselves, who leave out key details and tack on a photo of a mysteriously deformed heart-shaped potato that looks like no potato I've ever seen before? Either way, you'll probably want to weigh your potato, then divide and multiply to extrapolate the estimated calories in your particular potato to derive any semi-accurate results, since Google doesn't appear to let you add the specific weight to your search query to calculate that automatically.

          1. Simon Harris Silver badge

            Re: New year's resolutions @cryo

            Depends where you come from. It might convert it into olde-worlde measurements for the Merkins, but for us Brits and other Europeans it defaults to 77 calories per 100grams (sadly for SI purists typing 'kJ per kg of potato' doesn't provide a handy answer!). Those answers aren't just numbers btw, they are drop-down menus to change the potato recipe and size.

            Never seen a funny shaped vegetable before? Obviously That's Life never made it to the US! Over here we grew up on a diet of vegetables that looked a bit rude!

    4. jubtastic1
      Thumb Up

      Which is great

      Unless in the process of saving lazy short sighted fucks a click the content source goes offline.

      1. John Lilburne Silver badge

        Re: Which is great

        I'm pretty sure that the lazy idle fucks don't care about that. I'm also pretty sure that they don't care about teh accuracy of the data presented either. Anything plausible will do.

    5. Turtle

      @JDX

      " if I search for something and Google can show me what I need without me having to manually load another page..."

      That's exactly the problem. If Google shows you the content you want without having to "manually load" the page from which the content originated, then Google gets to show you to show you their ads, but the owners of the original page get nothing for their content - not only do they not get views for any advertising on which they might rely to keep their heads above water, but you might not even take notice of their existence.

      This is not a symbiotic relationship, this is the usual Google parasitism: just another way that Google extracts free labor from the rest of the world.

      1. Turtle

        Additional Side Effect - Re: @JDX

        "That's exactly the problem. If Google shows you the content you want without having to "manually load" the page from which the content originated, then Google gets to show you to show you their ads, but the owners of the original page get nothing for their content - not only do they not get views for any advertising on which they might rely to keep their heads above water, but you might not even take notice of their existence."

        And another side effect of this. If the site originating the content is a Google Affiliate or uses Google Ad-Sense then Google does not have to pay the originating site for the content being viewed.

        But if the originating site does not use Google but instead uses some other ad network, then not merely does Google not have to pay for the content being viewed on the Google Search Results Page or Knowledge Graph, but the ad network servicing the originating site does make any money either, thereby making it harder for that, or any other, ad network to compete with Google.

    6. Madeye

      That is a variation on the theme of "Who cares that the product I am buying is sold at a loss by a company trying to corner the market? The only thing that matters is it's cheap"

    7. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: if Google can show me what I need without me having to ...

      Presumably this is only true if you trust Google to have "borrowed" reliable content to show. So you have to trust both their motivation and their knowledge/ability to borrow something sufficiently correct (with which to "benefit to your user experience").

      I may perhaps think their motivation to provide a "best extract" is ok, but I really don't see why I'd trust their (or their algorithms) knowledge/ability on many subjects.

      1. heyrick Silver badge

        Re: if Google can show me what I need without me having to ...

        "I may perhaps think their motivation to provide a "best extract" is ok, but I really don't see why I'd trust their (or their algorithms) knowledge/ability on many subjects.

        Could say the same for a lot of Wikipedia...

        1. Turtle

          @heyrick Re: if Google can show me what I need without me having to ...

          "Could say the same for a lot of Wikipedia..."

          That's exactly why the Wikipedia discussion page is at least as important as the main article.

        2. Tom 35 Silver badge

          Re: if Google can show me what I need without me having to ...

          There is a difference between a simple fact like the half-life of nickel-56 in the example above, or 22 centigrade to fahrenheit and something that might be complex, or contentious like naked short selling.

          Google is great for the simple fact. Wikipedia is better for the more complex things, both are of limited use for contentious items. DuckDuckGo is a bit better at finding both sides as it will not try to guess what you want to see.

          1. tom dial Silver badge

            Re: if Google can show me what I need without me having to ...

            Corporate toady that I am, I still have Google as my default search, but from time to time sample others, including yahoo, bing, and duckduckgo.

            For the "calories potato" search, Google provided a result that was the best by far, giving a box on the right with calories for a medium potato and a number of other potato nutrition information, sourced to Wikipedia. Google also provided a box at the top of the page with clickable options for type and quantity. It was followed by Yahoo (which had a link that gave calories, but for a large potato), partial nutrition information, as the first non-ad result link. Bing produced a box sourced to wikipedia with some potato facts that included no calorie or nutrition information; the last link on the page showed calories for a small baked potato and no other nutrition informaton. Duck Duck Go provided links, but no calorie or nutrition information at all.

            The quality difference came as a bit of a surprise, as my usual results are pretty close among the four. However I expect to continue Google as my default search engine until one of the others produces results that are as good, and will continue to use Wikipedia for anything likely to need more than quick answer.

    8. Jim 59

      Competition

      @JDX and when the parasitised resource dies so does your choice and the quality of your user experience.

      I notice even a mild criticism of Google is quickly downvoted in these forums. Certain commentards just won't here a bad word said about Googlesoft.

      1. JDX Gold badge

        Re: Competition

        I assume you people jumping to criticise Google for taking away other sites' sources of advertising revenue don't run ad-blockers. Otherwise saying it's short-sighted to support this for a better user experience would be pretty hypocritical.

    9. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      > if I search for something and Google can show me what I need without me having to manually load another page, that's of benefit to my user experience.

      That is correct, in the short term. The problem is when the content being shown is not created or maintained by Google--in this case, unless the third party receives some sort of benefit, they will eventually stop doing their work due to the absence of a continued sustainable business case.

      In Wikipedia's case, I understand Google contributes significant support, and there is no complaint about the content being used in violation of its licences, so it looks more of a win/win to me.

      Many other cases (as the photographers mentioned by Orlowski), unfortunately, look rather more dubious. Perhaps Google should share part of its revenue with those other actors? I seem to recall that early HTTP drafts at one point toyed with the idea of payment support. Pretty sure there is even a 4xx error code to the effect.

    10. Shannon Jacobs
      Holmes

      New motto: All your attention is belong to the google

      Just so, child. Since your effective search query should hint what kind of information you want, then it obviously optimizes the experience from the google's perspective if you get the answer immediately--as long as you still see some paid-for ads. In fact, I'd wager that they strongly optimize the ads around their guess of what information you want, and this would greatly increase the likelihood of your clicking through on an ad as soon as you know the answer to your actionable question.

      Is this EVIL? Actually, I think so. Serendipitously, I just finished writing a blog on the topic. It probably won't come up on the google search engine, and given that the blog website is probably owned by the google, I better make a local copy, too, just in case of an accidental data loss.

      http://anti-dubya.blogspot.jp/2014/01/all-your-attention-is-belong-to-google.html

    11. toadwarrior

      Yeah except Google is taking all the profit for someone else's work. They're basically providing content rather than being a search engine. That's fine except they're not generating their own content. They're mooching off someone else and then not allowing them to profit from it.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    or maybe...

    ...it's down to the amount of crap on some pages on Wikipedia that is turning people away from it?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: or maybe...

      or maybe ...

      ....it's down to the millions of dead links and mis-quoted references and outright wrong "facts" posted by the highly opinionated contributors as they blast the planet with an asteroid-sized chunk of false data.

      Maybe people are (finally) simply getting tired of being lied to.

      1. pepper

        Re: or maybe...

        Spot on Andy, Wikipedia seems to be getting worse and worse, even on the 'simple' things that should just consist of facts. It seems most articles dont even try to be bias-free anymore, mostly the hint is in the language used...

        Alas, it will be a shame to see it go down.

  3. ratfox Silver badge

    Is it a real problem for Wikipedia?

    After all, in contrast to most of the web, Wikipedia does not rely on advertising. So a comparative decrease in views is not as important for it as it is for others.

    Anyway, Wikipedia's real value is not on the blurbs that may appear in Google's Knowledge Graph, but in the more detailed information it provides. Until there is a drop in contributors, I would say they have no reason to worry...

    1. Fibbles

      Re: Is it a real problem for Wikipedia?

      Really? I had imagined that most people use Wikipedia as I do; good enough for a brief overview but not to be trusted on the finer details.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Is it a real problem for Wikipedia?

        I use Wikipedia for the links - to the original sources of the information I am interested in ;-)

        ... and Google has not been able to dredge up anything really useful for a long time now, 2-3 years. Their search engine is clearly losing to the spam-bots and spam-vertisers, Bing was always rubbish at everyting ... even pr0n ... and Yahoo has now been subsumed by Bing. The web is turning into gray goo, basically.

        1. ratfox Silver badge
          Angel

          "Google has not been able to dredge up anything really useful for a long time now"

          And there was no unemployment before, and we had proper money, and young people were polite to their elders, and winters were less cold, and stairs were less steep?

          1. Tom 13

            Re: winters were less cold, and stairs were less steep?

            Absolutely NOT!

            Why when I was a lad, during the winter you had to wear your long johns even when you were IN the building. Stairs? You have stairs? All I had was 20 feet of rope and a grappling hook with two bent tines!

            But yes, money was proper, we knew our places.

            And the sheep were scared.

          2. DropBear Silver badge

            Re: "Google has not been able to dredge up anything really useful for a long time now"

            No. It's really happening; I noticed it too, exactly in the mentioned time frame. Being good at searching is a thing of mine, and recently I've seen the relevance of the first search results dropping noticeably.

            1. Cryo

              Re: "Google has not been able to dredge up anything really useful for a long time now"

              It's not just the results either. The interfaces of their sites are going through the floor. For everything they improve, something else gets made worse. And recently, they've been forcing unwanted Google+ integration into all their sites. Google has long since abandoned the simplicity and usability that made them popular to begin with in favor of coercing people into using their services to further their goals of monopolizing the connected world.

        2. Greggles

          Re: Is it a real problem for Wikipedia?

          Untrue sir! Bing is by far the superior search engine for pr0n. In fact practically anything I search for on Bing pops up something naughty on the first page.

          1. cambsukguy

            Re: Is it a real problem for Wikipedia?

            > "Untrue sir! Bing is by far the superior search engine for pr0n. In fact practically anything I search for on Bing pops up something naughty on the first page."

            Yep, find it using Bing and surf it with Chrome - so I don't have to tarnish IE's history with dodgy content but *still* get history matching etc. unlike if I used InPrivate mode.

    2. Tom7

      Re: Is it a real problem for Wikipedia?

      I think that drop in contributors has been noted for some time, in fact considerably longer than the drop in page views.

    3. Turtle

      @ratfox Re: Is it a real problem for Wikipedia?

      "Until there is a drop in contributors, I would say they have no reason to worry..."

      I don't have a citation handy (see what I did there?) but, as far as I know, the number of contributors (called "editors" in wikispeak as I am sure you know) has in fact been dropping. But I don't think that it has anything to do with Google's Knowledge Graph.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Holmes

    Agenda...

    "Google once championed the cause of "net neutrality" - but abandoned the neutrality crusaders as soon as it had built out the world's largest private network, one designed to carry Google's own video traffic."

    Microsoft tried to "embrace" and "extend" the Internet. Even tried to make their own "internet"...

    "The moral is: if you're a contributor to an "open" web resource, then beware: the hippy ethos simply marks you out as a mug. Unless you protect and license your work, you will be exploited by a powerful corporation."

    Like Apple with FreeBSD? The moral is that people do what they please with their work no matter the clichés people try to impose and more important, not what the reporter would like.

    "Incidentally, Knowledge Graph is already a part of an official complaint to the antitrust commish: by photographers."

    The photographers have plenty of ways to stop Google, besides the complaints: watermarks, user registration to access the photos...the fact is, everyone whants to be indexed by Google but even the photographers don't want to pay a dime to be indexed!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Agenda...

      Quote

      The photographers have plenty of ways to stop Google, besides the complaints: watermarks, user registration to access the photos...the fact is, everyone whants to be indexed by Google but even the photographers don't want to pay a dime to be indexed!

      That didn't stop them from getting hold of some of my photographs. I found that one had been published in a blog in Japan. The link to my picture was via google. My watermark was clearly visible and they hadn't stripped my copyright info from the metadata. Yet the blog owner was claiming the picture as his own work.

      As a result I have pulled ALL of my pictures from the internet. People say, 'don't you have a website?' The looked shocked when I say 'No I don't. I don't want my pictures copied'. I'm a semi-pro photographer so it can hurt me a bit financially but I don't want my stuff nicked.

      A sad state of affairs but there it is.

      I do contribute some images to a few sites but these have had any copyright removed and are marked 'Public Domain' sure they can be copied and I don't care. They are not my best work though.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Agenda...

        "Yet the blog owner was claiming the picture as his own work"

        I understand your problem but, the problem was Google indexing your work or a blogger pirating your work?

        1. Def Silver badge

          Re: Agenda...

          I understand your problem but, the problem was Google indexing your work or a blogger pirating your work?

          My guess is someone ripped his photo off (probably from Google image search), and then he realised, ironically enough, it by Googling it himself.

          I think the general rule is and has always been: If you don't want it copied/stolen/abused, don't put it online.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Agenda...

      You seem to misunderstand free open source, if you don't want anyone to come along and use your work, don't make it free and open source. If you want some but not others to use your work, select an appropriate license. No-one can complain that they've contributed to the Free BSD project and that someone else is using their code and - shock - making money from it, because that's the whole point of Free BSD.

      Likewise, photographers want their sites indexed, but unlike FOSS code authors they don't want their content given away for free, so it gets put behind a paywall, or watermarked, but people who legitimately use content provided by a photographer aren't going to want to slap a watermark across it. This is hardly the fault of the photographer.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Agenda...

        "You seem to misunderstand free open source"

        And you didnt read carefully the first part of my post. *Any* corporation would ride upon your work, not just Google, if its good and free without giving anything back and more than often infringing the license.

        "Likewise, photographers want their sites indexed, but unlike FOSS code authors they don't want their content given away for free, so it gets put behind a paywall, or watermarked, but people who legitimately use content provided by a photographer aren't going to want to slap a watermark across it. This is hardly the fault of the photographer."

        Likewise public libraries who pay for the books and people make illegal copies, or ebooks that are stripped from the copy protection. Have to that movies, songs...photographers are the only ones that that get their work misappropriated.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Agenda...

          "if its good and free without giving anything back and more than often infringing the license."

          Not if it's BSD, which was your example.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Stop

            Re: Agenda...

            My example was not about the license...but free rides upon others work. BSD demands for copyright notice, do you think nobody breach BSD license because of it's nature? Look ma, WWF thinks our BSD code its their IP... http://sourceforge.net/mailarchive/message.php?msg_id=26744588

            Anyway, Me and everyone else can do whatever we want with our work, being licensed with GPL or BSD, but if I was you I would read again about the BSD license before saying that no one breaches a license because of the use of BSD code...

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Agenda...

          "photographers are the only ones that that get their work misappropriated."

          are *not* the only ones, that was what I intended to say

      2. Ian Michael Gumby Silver badge

        Re: Agenda...

        "You seem to misunderstand free open source, if you don't want anyone to come along and use your work, don't make it free and open source. "

        He's not.

        The fact that Google crawls the web and then indexes the photo is only part of it, Its when another site steals his work and uses it without approval. Note that he's work isn't free nor open source.

        The key is when building a site, using the robots.txt to signify no crawling of that portion of your site. As well as watermarking the images.

        Then if Google does ignore the robots.txt (if I have the name right.) Then you would have grounds for a massive class action lawsuit. Until of course Google plays the rogue programmer story....

        1. KayKay

          Re: Agenda...

          Bing doesn't always honour robots.txt. Google always does. I have even seen search results that give the headline or url of a story/website and them states that because of robots.txt settings no content is available from it.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    This provokes some interesting questions.

    It seems the argument is being made that the only role Google is to be allowed to have is to index other peoples sites and make that index available for searching to the world. That they are not allowed to provide anything other than a searchable index, and that any other additions to the service they provide will be considered as a direct attack upon some other organisation/companies very existence.

    Is this some new form of capitalism which is being proposed? One where companies are only allowed to offer their services in a format which no one else can object to?

    If so are Google going to be granted exclusivity to search? They are the biggest provider by market share, so surely Microsoft (and others) are damaging Googles business by running bing.com, and they should be immediately ordered by law to shut the service down.

    Just like Google shouldn't be allowed to anything other than provide a search index, Microsoft by rights shouldn't be doing anything other than producing the operating system, and an office suite, they shouldn't be allowed to do anything else lest they impinge upon someone else business plan.

    Is that the idea?

    1. Rocket888

      'Is this some new form of capitalism which is being proposed?'

      No. Jus like in any other industry where you have a dominant player, they need to not use their dominant position in one area to unfairly compete in another. Just like the british rail network isn't owned by the operators, Microsoft had to unbundle IE, BT had to split its network etc.

      If they want to run Maps or Knowledge Graph or any other service it has to be on arms length terms that doesn't distort the market place.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        If they want to run Maps or Knowledge Graph or any other service it has to be on arms length terms that doesn't distort the market place.

        So because Microsoft are the dominant OS provider to the planet they shouldn't be allowed to produce an Office Suite?

        I can see you being popular with the MS Office aficionados.

        How about, because e.On are the dominant producer of electricity in France, they shouldn't be allowed to sell electricity to end users?

        Because Rolls Royce are the dominant provider of Air Frame engines, they shouldn't be allowed to make such good cars?

        Fucking outstanding, do you want to break the news to them all, or should I? OR can we get a government to do it, that would save us both looking like cunts to the staff they all have to lay off.

        1. Rocket888

          Microsoft don't package Office with Windows - you have to buy it separately.

          e.On have at least one substantial competitor: EDF. And switching between the two is relatively painless.

          Rolls Royce compete with other manufacturers of engines. Can't name them off the top of my head but Boeing generally put American engines in American airline's orders for example.

          None of your examples are even close to the dominance of the Sheeple's preferred search engine.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Microsoft don't package Office with Windows - you have to buy it separately.

            They don't package Google either, users have to type the address in manually to find it even exists. Yet the users still keep using it.

            e.On have at least one substantial competitor: EDF. And switching between the two is relatively painless

            Is typing bing.com harder than typing google.com? In fact no it isn't is it, because the monoply OS suppiers set your operating system to use that one by default don't they, so it's even easier.

            Rolls Royce compete with other manufacturers of engines. Can't name them off the top of my head but Boeing generally put American engines in American airline's orders for example.

            Google has competitors, but for some odd reason users keep using Google, They do that despite the dominant OS provider using their monoply position to ensure any computer loaded with their OS defaults to their own search engine. Maybe there's a reason for that... maybe it's because users find Google more useful than Bing. Of course you could always do your best to campaign for the usefulness Google provide for their users to be crippled. It's not like user choice is worth fuck all, is it?

            None of your examples are even close to the dominance of the Sheeple's preferred search engine

            All of my examples stack up, yours on the other hand, look like the same old anti Google rants, which seem to bear little resemblance to reality.

            1. SkippyBing Silver badge

              In the Rolls-Royce case, currently only BMW can manufacture and sell cars under the RR name as they brought the licence from RR Aero, who own the rights to the name but have been a separate company since 1973 when the government separated them due to the costs of developing the RB211 (now Trent) turbofan.

              Oddly you could have Googled this and got the information from Wikipedia...

        2. Jack Faust meets Mephistopheles

          Hilarious, but seriously it's more like Microsoft not allowing any other Office program to run on Windows.

          It's more like EDF blocking and stopping other electric companiers from selling in France.

          It's more like Rolls Royce forbidding airlines that use theier engines to not use anyone elses engines.

          So yeah not what you proposed and as the other comentator said search for anti-competitive monopoly.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Hilarious, but seriously it's more like Microsoft not allowing any other Office program to run on Windows.

            It's more like EDF blocking and stopping other electric companiers from selling in France.

            It's more like Rolls Royce forbidding airlines that use theier engines to not use anyone elses engines.

            Don't talk crap, this is a tech site, everyone here knows better... I hope, although I sopmetimes wonder.

            Google don't stop anyone using another service provider, or stop anyone from accessing Wikimedia sites through their site. In fact they deliberately put Wiki links on the page so users can click them and access the relevant Wiki site.

            Which country is it Google are stopping users accessing rival search providers in?

            Show is where Google have ever told anyone that they're not allowed to use Googles services if they use Bing as a search engine.

            It's all hyperbole with you anti-Googlers innit?

      2. Richard Plinston Silver badge

        > No. Jus like in any other industry where you have a dominant player, they need to not use their dominant position in one area to unfairly compete in another.

        You mean like MS gives Nokia $1 billion a year from Office revenues to subsidize Windows Phone so they can sell 520s cheaper than Androids (and it still makes a loss.)

        Like the division that sells XBox has accumulated approx $4 billion losses paid for from Office revenues.

        > Microsoft had to unbundle IE,

        IE was another example where it was 'for free' to kill off Netscape and this came from Windows and Office revenue. It also killed off Spyglass (who had written IE).

        And, no, it wasn't 'unbundled'. MS was told to put up a screen offering other browsers, but this was 'forgotten' after a short while.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Here's two terms for you to look up: "Effective monopoly" and "anti-competitive behaviour".

    3. Ian Michael Gumby Silver badge

      @obnoxious Git

      Google walks the web and indexes it as part of search engine and makes money doing it.

      By getting people to use their search contents, they make money from selling ads.

      They walk, they index, you visit them to use their index. They post ads, track you so that they can post more ads that you're likely to click on.

      That's their money making sauce.

      One can always object when Google violates mechanisms that they claim to enforce.

      One can also object when Google enters a market using monies from advertisements to subsidize their entry in to the market such that drain their competitors, only to later monetize the system and ultimately hurt competition.

    4. Tom 13

      Re: MS shouldn't make anything other than OS and Office

      Given that I haven't had a decent word processor since they leveraged their OS to kill WordPerfect, no. They should only be allowed to produce an OS. In fact, I was just thinking about the fact that back in the day there were a number of charts I could rip out lickety split with Harvard Graphics, and these days there's not a program on the market that will do the same thing.

      The relevant point is that they shouldn't be able to leverage their government granted monopoly in one area beyond the reach of that area. I like the free market. The more free the market is the better. But we don't have much of one anymore. Damn government has its hands in everything. And once they're in it things get hideously distorted if you aren't careful. Which they haven't been. The government has been greedy and that spreads to the corporations. Or maybe the other way around. Either way evil is always attracted to locations of power and extends its fingers from whichever ones it already controls.

      I get what you're saying. Google needs to be able to compete with other businesses. But you're overdoing it on the ideology. They need to be able to compete, but that also implies there has to be competition, not simply Google rolling over everybody else on the planet because they have a license to print money via Ad Words.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: MS shouldn't make anything other than OS and Office

        I get what you're saying. Google needs to be able to compete with other businesses. But you're overdoing it on the ideology.

        That's a fair criticism, and one I accept, but it's only appropriate way of responding to some of the pure hyperbole which gets posted from the anti-Google camp.

  6. RISC OS

    "Is Google accidentally killing Wikipedia?"

    "accidentally" being the keyword

  7. This post has been deleted by a moderator

  8. Piloti

    Fact, Opinion and the Victorian Curve.....

    The truth is, Wiki-pedia, will like every company / organisation before it and every one that follows, have a bell curve of popularity,. A company / service does not exist, it rises to it's peak and then drops off. Nokia is the biggest recent example. Apple could be the next. Wikipedia.... now ?

    ok Google is a massive behemoth that is [possibly?] too big, but is the suggestion that views [are these nuggets of inforation on Google or wikipedia always fact or more often just opinion ?] should be somehow managed to force people where to take their inaccuracies of choice ?

    Isn't this how state religions are created.....?

    1. Pascal Monett Silver badge

      State religion ?

      State religions are based on rhetoric and imaginary friends.

      Google is a state in itself.

      It is not imaginary, it is not rhetorical, and it certainly is not your friend.

  9. Richard 81

    If the top third of my browser is taken up with the information I'm looking for, that's great. If it's taken up by a big banner by Wikipedia begging for more money, that's not so great.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Yeah, those wikipedia bastards should do it all for free.

      That seems to be what you're saying? How do Wikipedia get money when they don't advertise, if they are not going to ask for money?

      1. Richard 81

        Oh no, I'm not suggesting they shouldn't ask for money, but a huge add that covers most of the screen is never forgiveable, no matter who does it.

      2. Sean Timarco Baggaley

        "How do Wikipedia get money when they don't advertise, if they are not going to ask for money?"

        Wikipedia is what Yahoo! always dreamed of becoming: a curated catalogue of links that can act as a springboard to the rest of the Internet.

        So... spin off a search engine built around their content. Make it a non-profit, but allow ads set around categories, etc. Allowed 'sponsored articles' paid for by the corporations who want them (but mark them clearly as such).

        The Wikipedia site itself would continue as a separate entity, but it would now receive funding from that non-profit search engine business. (Who knows, maybe they could even start paying for contributions.)

        I sometimes suspect that the above is precisely why Google decided to cosy up to them: Wikipedia is a potentially huge threat to their business model.

      3. dhoulb

        The banners are awful, and I really think Wikipedia need to transition to a sustainable system where the funding is just 'done', and they don't have to do this pledge drive every year. They've recently updated their system to allow repeat payments, so I signed up to give £10 a month. What I'm hoping to get from that is a future that's banner-free.

        The only real expenses Wikipedia should have are servers and a small dev team. If they need more than 20 people to run a volunteer-lead site, they're just being wasteful.

        They could probably have most of it covered by sponsorship from companies, then they wouldn't need to bug people for money at all. But I guess they don't want the ethical conflict. they could have an system where all correspondence with sponsors is published on a site, to keep it honest.

        If Google's showing Wikipedia content without you needing to visit the site, they're actually SAVING Wikipedia money on their hosting bill, so it seems like they're doing a good service. (Plus the several million a year they give in donations to the Wikimedia Foundation.)

  10. Tom7

    Nnnnnnyessss...

    There's not any actual, you know, evidence that Google is trying to kill Wikipedia, is there? No reason that they'd want to, no sign that they are.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    FAIL

    Visits to Wikipedia stalled.

    Yeh, it's must be all Google's fault.

    Nothing to do with the constant nag screens for donations (which were rolled out about the same time)

    Nothing to do with the constant lowering of standards of content on Wikipedia.

    Nothing to do with the rubbish visual editor they rolled out about the same time.

    Remember folks that correlation does not imply causation.....

    http://junksciencecom.files.wordpress.com/2012/03/agwpirates.jpg?w=500&h=358

    1. Pascal Monett Silver badge
      Coat

      Re: "the constant lowering of standards of content on Wikipedia"

      Wikipedia has content standards ?

      1. RISC OS

        Re: "the constant lowering of standards of content on Wikipedia"

        Yeah, it's set by whatever 12 yr old editor happens to see the edits that you have made and decides to revert them as vandalism because they think that they know more about evolutionary biology or quantum theory than you do.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: "the constant lowering of standards of content on Wikipedia"

          > it's set by whatever 12 yr old editor

          I don't think most editors are twelve years old (regardless of what their behaviour may lead you to think), but for the ones that I've known personally or that make this information public, there seems to be a preponderance of art types, which is all good, except when, as you state, they decide they've become experts in everything under the Sun and start pissing off those with actual knowledge and skills to contribute.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: "the constant lowering of standards of content on Wikipedia"

          Slightly OT, but the one time I tried to fix a really stupid error in Wikipedia an exchange with the editor revealed that he had sold his company the mistake as a fact and now could not afford to have it corrected in case they found out. My view is that both Google and Wikipedia are necessary as a kind of cross check.

  12. trafalgar

    Agree with ratfox. I think Wikipedia will be fine. I use it for checking things in more detail and following its references.

  13. arkhangelsk

    Quite frankly...

    I noticed that there was a little box where there wasn't before (that I generally didn't use), but I didn't even know it was called Knowledge Graph. Does it really have that much effect?

  14. KirstarK

    If I want wiki stuff I add wiki to my search term.

  15. Duke2010

    Is it?

    I dont know, I stopped using Google ages ago.

    1. Richard 81

      Re: Is it?

      In favour of what? Honest question.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Is it?

        > In favour of what?

        Altavista?

      2. Tikimon Silver badge

        In favor of: Duckduckgo in my case

        Duckduckgo seems to give me more relevant hits than Google these days, plus the many anti-spy benefits. If I can't find what I need there I'll try another search, but DDG finds me what I want 95% of the time.

        At first I thought I was getting fewer hits on search terms, but then I realized I had fewer bogus hits than Google throws up. Your mileage may vary...

      3. Hollerith 1

        Re: Is it?

        I use StartPage, not Google. Works fine.

    2. Stevie Silver badge

      Re:I dont know, I stopped using Google ages ago.

      Hard drive died?

      Seriously: You never activate an embedded video or answer mail from a gmail account?

  16. auburnman

    One thing has always bugged me about the complaint that Google arbitrarily puts their choices at the top of search results: the alternative would be for Google [Other Product] to bid for ad-space from Google [Search] like the other customers. Given G would effectively be paying themselves they could afford to outbid anyone and get a spot next to the top search results anyway, only this would drive bidding up and everyone would (rightly) scream price fixing.

    Unless the lawmakers are planning to ban Google from promoting their own products I think the current situation is probably the best compromise.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      > One thing has always bugged me about the complaint that Google arbitrarily puts their choices at the top of search results

      Totally gets on my tits when you search for the name of an Android application and the whole first page is spammed with links to their own market thing, even when you add qualifiers such as <name of application> + <name of alternative market> or "homepage" or "developer" or some such.

      There is being ambitious, which gets you places, and there is being greedy, which gets you in trouble.

    2. Turtle

      @auburnman

      "Unless the lawmakers are planning to ban Google from promoting their own products I think the current situation is probably the best compromise."

      Laws in various countries - anti-trust and similar laws aimed at prohibiting unfair competition - already do ban companies from promoting their own products in certain ways and there are various lawsuits ongoing to force Google to refrain from using their dominance in one line of business to establish themselves in other businesses.

  17. pacman7de
    Facepalm

    Where is `Knowledge Graph'?

    Where is `Knowledge Graph', doesn't show up here on this desktop, just adverts for the Sony Waterproof Xperia™

    1. Tom 13

      Re: Where is `Knowledge Graph'?

      Now that you mention it, I don't recall seeing it either. Did a check, nope don't see it. Running Firefox, no add ons. Could be filtered upstream from me. Will check again when I get home.

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Searching Bing on 'Knowledge Graph' ..

    'Related searches: Bing Knowledge Graph ..`

    "Last year, Bing launched its “Snapshots” feature, which shows direct answers for searches on the results page"

    http://www.webpronews.com/bing-expands-its-knowledge-graph-like-snapshots-2013-03

  19. Chris 3

    For me, the knowledge-graph snippets marked the point where Google became evil-ish, from a Website owner's point of view.

    The social compact between Google and a site had always been simple. "If I set my robots file to let you in, Googe - you can index my content and link to it from your search results. You get to put ads on your Google home page, I get extra traffic to put ads and cross-promote other services on my site".

    With the new system, however that compact is broken. The Web site no longer (necessarily) gets extra traffic. Instead Google is effectively screen-scraping content into its own database and presenting the information to its users directly.

    While it may be convenient for Google's users, it's not healthy for the Web as a whole. The solution? Robots.txt needs to be extended so that in addition to the allow/don't allow directives Web site owners can state whether they are happy for information on the site to be excerpted.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      The article says clearly that the knowledge graph functions primary source of information is an entirely separate product the Google paid money for. The article, somewhat lazily, doesn't suggest what the other sources are.

      So let's try it. I go to google and type "capital of france?", Google comes back with a bordered box that simply says Paris, France Capital and a link to allow me to suggest this information is wrong. This I presume is part of the "knowledge graph" suite and the information they have purchased.

      Immediately below that are the regular links, no sponsored links or ads on this page at all. The top link? Wikipedia. The 2nd link, Wikipedia. The 3rd link Wikipedia.

      To the right of these is another box of info that elaborates somewhat, I presume this is the second part of the knowledge graph suite. With a map, some pictures, some text. The biggest bit of text reads "Paris is the capital and most populous city of France. It is situated on the River Seine, in the north of the country, at the heart of the Île-de-France region." and is attributed to Wikipedia, furthermore the attribution is clickable to take you to the Wikipedia article.

      One other piece of data is attributed to UNsource. At the bottom of all this is a disclaimer indicating the Wikipedia text is released under such and such a license, the attribution is clickable and presumably observes all the rules for this sort of creative commons material.

      I've done one search, not mentioned wikipedia at all, and got a page with at least 4 links to wikipedia on it. In what way do all of these links to Wikipedia somehow mean that on balance Wikipedia is getting less traffic and that evil is taking place.

      Google also shows a snippet under normal search links. Is this also evil? Does the "Paris is the capital and most populous city of France. It is situated on the River Seine, in the north of the country, at the heart of the Île-de-France region. Within its ..." shown under the 2nd search result deprive wikipedia of traffic? Is it wrong that I should have some idea what I may be clicking on?

      I just don't buy it. It wouldn't surprise me if 75% of all Wikipedia traffic came from Google and that it will continue that way for a very long time.

      Your suggestion about Robots.txt may well have legs. But in this case is it valid? The wikipedia content is licensed, very carefully licensed. And I'm pretty sure anybody can show any snippet they like as long as the links are good and proper and the license is shown.

      1. Lyndon Hills 1

        only for wikipedia?

        I just did your search for Paris and got the boxes you mention. Can't say I ever noticed them before, but I see the 'problem'.

        I tried something more typical for me, searched for java strtok. The first link is StackOverflow, but there are no extra boxes - Knowledge Graph? If I want the syntax and examples for strtok then I need to click a link.

        It looks like Knowledge graph doesn't cover everything then?

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    No impact

    I've automatically added the string "-side:wikipedia.org" to all my Google searches for years now. Massive improvement in the quality of results; it's always a shock when I use a strange computer and the top result is always some random dribble from the unemployed wikiwhackers.

  21. Bury the Hammer

    I don't understand. Wikipedia is an organisation, not a company, so they're not losing revenue through this. If anything, they're saving on bandwidth, surely? And still fulfilling their mission of spreading knowledge to the world.

    Secondly, a lot of Google's Knowledge Graph stuff comes from Wikipedia, anyway. Give a quick search for "Samsung" on google and... the summary is from Wikipedia. With a link to Wikipedia. (and the third thing on the page is.. wikipedia)

    1. John Lilburne Silver badge

      Wikipedia needs more people to blog on the site, one way that they do that is to sucker people in fixing a spelling error. If no one is going there there are no replacement drones, and the site generally fails. As of now the site is run mostly by automated scripts. Go to the site and bring up a random article. Look at the history and most likely it will have mostly been fiddled with by bots. The article count increases because they have semi-automated bots scraping gazette database for villages in India, and biological databases for organisms. Others are scraping transport database to list every bus route in the US. As the editor numbers decline, they have few and few people to maintain the place.

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I don't see a problem with Google cherry-picking information and displaying it in a more prominent way. However, what they should (or must?) do is provide a link to the source, equally prominently and not just in tiny grey letters like right now (and sometimes not even that). And for images they should extract licensing details from the EXIF meta data and display them clearly too, especially on images.google.com which makes it way too easy to find certain images and use them without even visiting the actual site.

    Google, please do display copyright and licensing information as well as sources. Some people do care and don't think that everything on the interwebs must be free as in beer.

    .

  23. asdf Silver badge

    oh noes

    What a travesty that Google is cutting into Jimbo Wales putting his ugly mug up begging for money when his organization is flush with cash.

  24. Don Mitchell

    Search Paradigms that Google Doesn't Control...Yet

    Google has the major share of online advertising locked up. It's their cash cow. A couple years ago, a high level tech-firm manager told me that Google only feared two things: Facebook and Wikipedia. Not just because they had ads, but because they represented two information-search paradigms that Google didn't control. So this article should come as no surprise.

  25. Grogan

    Not a day goes by that I don't search for something and have a Wikipedia link in the top most list of search results. I almost always click it, because Wikipedia usually provides just the right amount of abridged information that I'm looking for.

    If in doubt I'll append wikipedia to my search keyword(s) to ensure it.

    I use Google to find Wikipedia articles every day. Even when Wikipedia is begging for money (and I have donated a few times because it's very useful to me). Google brings me there. I love reading Wikipedia articles.

    I'm betting that Google is not really harming Wikipedia, it's probably like the whinging news sites that don't like the summaries because it lets people decide if they are going to waste their time clicking or not.

    By the way, I've noticed that people can't resist spreading FUD about the accuracy of the information on Wikipedia. Usually academic types, that think it's too easy. They earned their degrees by poring over dusty tomes in snobbish libraries. Who reviews those books? Can peers flag and edit them? I'll bet it takes a lot longer to get information corrected. Never, in existing copies. Did anyone check the thesis of Dr. Cleverbritches who claimed that it takes 6 PSI to blow air up a particular species of South American tree frog's arse?

  26. cambsukguy

    Dominant? Biggest yes, dominant, not so sure

    According to some search engine, Google have about 65% of the search market - and it is falling.

    If Ford sold 65% of all cars, that would be dominant because that would mean all the other competitors added up to the remaining 35%.

    Since Google+Bing total share nears 100% (Yahoo search is Bing), then it is a two horse race on the whole.

    65/35 is not totally fair but is completely reasonable and subject to change. Since most of 35% is backed by a major player unlikely to be squashed by Google, it is even more fair.

    Personally I don't use Google because it is insanely full of ads, I previously used to simply click on the second or third page automatically to ensure I got a real result. Now I just use Bing - I like the pictures too admittedly. I worry less about Google data gathering and the NSA in general because I gave up all terrorist related activities some time ago and I prefer my ads to be relevant in any case.

    It reminds me of Virgin vs BT fibre. Virgin looks the biggest but the competitor appears to have a completely reasonable alternative (for those lucky enough to have the choice) so no-one can dominate (like BT did with landlines in the bad old days.

    http://searchenginewatch.com/article/2269591/Googles-Search-Market-Share-Drops-as-Bing-Passes-17

    Apparently, Google only have 3% in China so definitely not dominant there.

  27. paulc

    Not the only search engine in town...

    basically the others are whinging as they can't provide results that are good enough for users to change their defaults...

  28. Suboptimal Planet

    Exploitation? Really?

    "Unless you protect and license your work, you will be exploited by a powerful corporation"

    Google doesn't owe you anything. Nobody has been coerced. Focus your anger on the real villains.

  29. Charlie Clark Silver badge

    Codswallop

    The moral is: if you're a contributor to an "open" web resource, then beware: the hippy ethos simply marks you out as a mug. Unless you protect and license your work, you will be exploited by a powerful corporation.

    I normally find Andrew's analysis at least thought-provoking but this article is more than just excuse to beat the exploitation drum, it is extremely patronising.

    If I put something in the public domain then I am making a conscious decision to do so. If someone can make money by adding value and presenting it (unlikely for the shit I come up with) to a market, then I'm happy for them as long as they respect my inalienable copyright.

  30. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    A lack of Wiki links indeed !

    Unlike all the mischief makers sending the unwitting to a certain Bing powered search engine, a distinct lack of Wiki results in search is noticeable in GS.

  31. dhoulb

    Surely this is GOOD for Wikipedia? They get one less hit on their bandwidth bill.

    Success for Wikipedia isn't measured by pageviews, it's measured by article quality, and the number of people who crawl Wikipedia to use their content, and trust it as a source.

    The knowledge graph pulls in data from Wikipedia. When you voice search in Google Now, most responses start with "According to Wikipedia...". This seems like a win for them. People are reading their content - does it matter that it's not on their site? They're not exactly missing out on ad revenue.

  32. SDoradus

    Not necessarily cause and effect

    The decline in page views is not necessarily to do with Google.

    It's far more likely to be a consequence of a much broader decline in number of articles and editors since 2007, when rules intended to combat trolls and vandalism effectively ensured that the only people able to create and edit articles were nerdy white men.

    This has been widely publicized, in the Daily Mail, Guardian, the Atlantic, Technology Review, among others. See for example the link to the Daily Dot provided by Mr Orlowski. Besides the page views, it also has the relevant graphs for number of editors and articles. Interestingly, the graph for number of page views goes no further back than 2008.

    The Dot does say that this is the first time page views has declined since 2008, implying that there was a drop in 2007. Actually there seems to have been a year-long drop from mid-2010 to mid-2011 as well. Both would be expected if the new rules were causing a drop in usability.

    Conclusion: I'd be less inclined to blame Google and more to blame the editor culture in Wikipedia.

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