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What an Anti-Google Antitrust Case By the FTC May Look Like 167

Posted by timothy
from the follow-the-competitors'-blueprint dept.
hessian writes "It's not certain that Google will face a federal antitrust lawsuit by year's end. But if that happens, it seems likely to follow an outline sketched by Thomas Barnett, a Washington, D.C., lawyer on the payroll of Google's competitors. Barnett laid out his arguments during a presentation here last night: Google is unfairly prioritizing its own services such as flight search over those offered by rivals such as Expedia, and it's unfairly incorporating reviews from Yelp without asking for permission. 'They systematically reinforce their dominance in search and search advertising,' Barnett said during a debate on search engines and antitrust organized by the Federalist Society. 'Google's case ought to have been brought a year or two ago.'"
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What an Anti-Google Antitrust Case By the FTC May Look Like

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  • Still Free (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 25, 2012 @05:53PM (#41771249)

    Just pointing out, you have the easy option of typing www.bing.com in your address bar if you don't like their results.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by CanHasDIY (1672858)

      Just pointing out, you have the easy option of typing www.bing.com in your address bar if you don't like their results.

      ... and you've always been able to go online and download the browser you prefer through Windows, but that hasn't stopped the US or EU governing bodies from slapping Microsoft with nigh endless anti-trust suits.

      • by Microlith (54737)

        you've always been able to go online and download the browser you prefer through Windows

        Only after starting Internet Explorer then... wait, I already have a web browser? Why would I want to download another one?

        This is pretty much how IE6 became the behemoth that it is. IE has an unbreakable advantage over every other browser: it's owned by the vendor whose OS is a monopoly in its market. That's why.

        • by jmauro (32523)

          IE6 benefited from some anti-competitive anti-bundling agreements with the OEMs that Microsoft got wrist slapped for by the DOJ [wikipedia.org].

          Because the OEMs couldn't bundle another browser, the main competition, Netscape, basically imploded due to lack of revenue. This left the market without a viable competitor. Giving IE all the space it needed to monopolize the market.

        • Re:Still Free (Score:5, Insightful)

          by CanHasDIY (1672858) on Thursday October 25, 2012 @06:31PM (#41771605) Homepage Journal

          you've always been able to go online and download the browser you prefer through Windows

          Only after starting Internet Explorer then... wait, I already have a web browser? Why would I want to download another one?

          Your laziness != anti-trust behavior on the part of Microsoft. Now, if Windows somehow tried to prevent you from downloading/installing an alternate browser, I would understand, but that's just not the case.

          Not to mention, if Windows didn't come with any browser whatsoever - how would you go about downloading a new one?

          This is pretty much how IE6 became the behemoth that it is. IE has an unbreakable advantage over every other browser: it's owned by the vendor whose OS is a monopoly in its market. That's why.

          Does OSX come, by default, with any alternate to Safari? No? Then why is MS treated like some kind of James Bond villain, but Apple isn't?

          • Re:Still Free (Score:4, Insightful)

            by compro01 (777531) on Thursday October 25, 2012 @06:43PM (#41771707)

            Now, if Windows somehow tried to prevent you from downloading/installing an alternate browser, I would understand, but that's just not the case.

            Which is somewhat what they did in preventing OEMs from bundling alternative browsers, which is what got them sued.

          • by Albanach (527650)

            Does OSX come, by default, with any alternate to Safari? No? Then why is MS treated like some kind of James Bond villain, but Apple isn't?

            Because, at the time Microsoft controlled almost the entire PC market. Apple were tiny by comparison to where they stand today.

            Since Microsoft Windows was installed on every computer and they came with Internet Explorer already included, Microsoft was able to use a monopoly in one industry (PC operating systems) to create a monopoly in another (internet browsers).

            As for h

          • because they do not own a monopoly on the pc market, and they don't abuse that monopoly to get another monopoly so as to vender lock the world. fortunately it backfired on M$ to a degree because not only were people vendor locked but version locked leading to xp and ie6 still having a huge portion of the market over 10 years after their release and making people realize that ms software is crappy. and that open source or at least standard compliant is the best.

          • Re:Still Free (Score:5, Informative)

            by GoogleShill (2732413) on Thursday October 25, 2012 @09:37PM (#41773121)

            It's funny how quickly people forget history. It wasn't just that they bundled a browser; it went something like this:

            - Netscape creates what becomes the standard internet browser and publicly states that they believe it will make the desktop OS irrelevant. MS is afraid of this. Netscape was freely downloadable, but they nagged you to pay them $25 or so to license it.
            - MS creates IE, and charges for it, but no one buys it because it sucked.
            - MS, still wanting browser market share, starts giving away IE for free. People continue to use Netscape.
            - MS bundles IE with Windows and forbids OEMs from adding an alternative browser. Some people switch to IE because it saves them the download step.
            - MS creates Front Page, a WYSIWYG HTML editor which was bundled with Office, the already dominant office suite.
            - MS creates IIS and ASP, technologies which only worked on Windows.
            - With Java applets gaining popularity, MS makes applets created with Visual Studio only runnable on Windows.
            - MS starts adding features to Front Page which make the generated HTML non standards-compliant, only viewable by IE and only servable by IIS.
            - MS add features to Word to allow it to export to HTML which could only be viewed in IE.
            - MS adds ActiveX control integration, making IE the only browser which supports it.
            - MS muscles ISPs like Earthlink to place ActiveX controls on their main web pages so that they are only viewable by Windows machines running IE.
            - People start switching to IE because Netscape doesn't render Front Page pages properly, so they think IE is a better browser.
            - Netscape can't make any money and folds, opening the source to their browser, blaming MS's antitrust behavior for their demise.
            - Netscape source code is picked up by the community, but can't support things like ActiveX due to wanting cross-platform feature parity.
            - With Netscape dead and IE5/6 being used by nearly every web surfer on the planet, MS stops development on it, hindering web innovation.

            As you can see, MS did a very good job of making sure that the web was only viewable by machines running IE on Windows and servable only by NT machines running IIS. That is what the antitrust suit was about, browser integration was just one key point in the whole mess.

            That was just the browser side of things, they were also found guilty of using private, unpublished Windows APIs in Office so that it was impossible for a 3rd party software developer to compete at the same level as MS. This was why the original ruling was to split MS into an OS company and a software company.

            Read http://www.justice.gov/atr/cases/f3800/msjudgex.htm [justice.gov] for full details.

        • Re: (Score:2, Troll)

          by VortexCortex (1117377)

          you've always been able to go online and download the browser you prefer through Windows

          Only after starting Internet Explorer.

          I see that you have been misinformed. Although I do not usually go to bat for Microsoft, I am impartial since I use & develop software for all modern OSs regularly. I once thought as you did, but have had my mind changed. Allow me to correct this misconception.

          After installing MS Windows XP Pro. I dumped my compiler toolchain into the system and was about to compile Firefox and Chromium when I thought: Wait a minute. There's been a way to get other browsers installed here without using MSIE all alo

      • Just pointing out, you have the easy option of typing www.bing.com in your address bar if you don't like their results.

        ... and you've always been able to go online and download the browser you prefer through Windows, but that hasn't stopped the US or EU governing bodies from slapping Microsoft with nigh endless anti-trust suits.

        Not everyone has that ability. Business had a really bad reputation for using default browsers, as centralized IT enforced draconian machine configurations, the result being that much business software and websites were dependent on Microsoft bugs and incompatibilities, tying people into Microsoft operating systems etc.

        Google are popular because their products are good, and continuously improving. Microsoft OSes were popular because they had a monopoly position, and the OS stagnated as a result (Win9x and W

        • Just pointing out, you have the easy option of typing www.bing.com in your address bar if you don't like their results.

          ... and you've always been able to go online and download the browser you prefer through Windows, but that hasn't stopped the US or EU governing bodies from slapping Microsoft with nigh endless anti-trust suits.

          Not everyone has that ability. Business had a really bad reputation for using default browsers, as centralized IT enforced draconian machine configurations, the result being that much business software and websites were dependent on Microsoft bugs and incompatibilities, tying people into Microsoft operating systems etc.

          But that's not Microsoft's doing, its the IT departments of these businesses, so why is MS getting all the blame?

          Do you really think the default browser (Explorer) on the defacto default OS (Windows) would default to google for search? People choose google for a reason.

          I fail to see what bearing that has on the topic at hand.

          • Just pointing out, you have the easy option of typing www.bing.com in your address bar if you don't like their results.

            ... and you've always been able to go online and download the browser you prefer through Windows, but that hasn't stopped the US or EU governing bodies from slapping Microsoft with nigh endless anti-trust suits.

            Not everyone has that ability. Business had a really bad reputation for using default browsers, as centralized IT enforced draconian machine configurations, the result being that much business software and websites were dependent on Microsoft bugs and incompatibilities, tying people into Microsoft operating systems etc.

            But that's not Microsoft's doing, its the IT departments of these businesses, so why is MS getting all the blame?

            Because MS abused the lock-in. Explorer standards incompatibilities, and further lock in attempts such as ActiveX were clear attempts at abusing their monopoly.

            Do you really think the default browser (Explorer) on the defacto default OS (Windows) would default to google for search? People choose google for a reason.

            I fail to see what bearing that has on the topic at hand.

            The topic at hand resulted in comparisons to Microsoft anti-trust issues. I was simply comparing the situations.

      • Re:Still Free (Score:4, Insightful)

        by poetmatt (793785) on Thursday October 25, 2012 @07:20PM (#41772045) Journal

        which is why bing (microsoft, oracle, and apple - all in concert) wants to shut down google. The reality is that this is going to either invalidate antitrust altogether, or encourage more antitrust investigation from the EU and the US onto all three of them. They're literally creating evidence by pushing for this.

      • But downloading a different browser did not remove IE from your machine. Does Google insist on sending you search results, even if you use Bing?

    • by iamhassi (659463)
      True, but with the android phones everything is tied so closely to google it's difficult to setup anything else. You must have a gmail account to login to an android phone, which then pulls your YouTube and google+ as well. I like google but I don't like handing them everything I have ever done online.

      I noticed wonky google search results the other day when looking for iPhone apps every search kept coming up with android apps high in the results.
      • by miltonw (892065)

        Obviously, you don't own an Android phone and have never owned an Android phone. Your criticisms are bogus. You don't have to have a gmail account to "login to" an Andoid phone. That's just a flat out lie. Unless you set up security, you just turn the phone on.

        You actually want us to believe you were looking for iPhone apps on an Android phone? Yeah, sure you were.

        If you are going to criticize Android, at least try it first.

      • hmm when ever i have used a google product android devices chrome etc one of the first things it asks is which search provider i would perfer and list several bing yahoo google ask duck duck go and others when i signed up for other services it works with my other email, if you don't want to hand them you online life you could simply use someone else i bet you will come back though, and not because of vender lock but becuase others services are inferior (with the exception of social) or simply don't exist. I

  • Sour Grapes (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Frosty Piss (770223) * on Thursday October 25, 2012 @05:54PM (#41771263)

    Why *wouldn't* they prioritize their services and the services of their partners? It's NOT a public service agency, it's a private business, of which there are several significant competitors.

    • Re:Sour Grapes (Score:5, Insightful)

      by NinjaTekNeeks (817385) on Thursday October 25, 2012 @05:59PM (#41771327)
      Exactly. Search brings in no money, however related goods, services and ads do. So you give out the free search and encourage the user to utilize a related service related to the search to bring in the money, simple and effective business plan.

      Also it's not like bing, yahoo and msn search don't do the exact same thing. Bing pimps its services just like google does, hotmail on the front page and a host of other offerings once you actually search.

      Just Horseshit legal wrangling try to slow Google down.
    • Re: (Score:1, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      That's the textbook definition of anti-trust behavior: Using your dominance in one market (search) to give yourself an unfair advantage in another market (travel agency, clog dancing, etc.)

      Also, it's really fucking illegal.

      • by Githaron (2462596)
        I would hardly call Google putting their services closer to the top as unfair. Besides, what keeps Google from "paying" themselves to put their services in the sponsored links.
        • by Rockoon (1252108)

          I would hardly call Google putting their services closer to the top as unfair.

          What would you call it if you were the one pushed off the first page because Google rigged the game?

          • by hondo77 (324058)
            Time to step up my marketing and not rely on Google search results so much.
          • by Githaron (2462596)
            The same way I would feel if I made a product and Walmart decided not to stock it because they wanted their own generic version of the product of on the shelf along side the other five competing products already on the shelf. There is limited space on the first page of any web search. Because they run and pay for the site, they have the right to decide the criteria by which that limited space is used on their search.
            • by Rockoon (1252108)
              You seem to be confusing justification with fairness. The GP proposed that it was not 'unfair' -- well, quite clearly it is unfair. Having justification for unfairness doesnt make in fair.
      • Re:Sour Grapes (Score:5, Insightful)

        by miltonw (892065) on Thursday October 25, 2012 @06:43PM (#41771725)

        Ah, but that is not the proven fact you pretend it is. There is no proof at all that Google tweaks its results to put its own services at the top of the list. You have assumed guilt that has never been established in order to "prove" that Google is guilty.

        Even companies are assumed innocent until proven guilty. That's called "justice" and if you don't like it, tough.

    • by nurb432 (527695)

      And they are more than free to do so, unless they are determined to be a monopoly. Then the rules change.

    • Re:Sour Grapes (Score:4, Informative)

      by ThatsMyNick (2004126) on Thursday October 25, 2012 @06:37PM (#41771653)

      Because they are leveraging their monopoly to unfairly compete with similar services (as it clearly states in the summary).

      • Because they are leveraging their monopoly...

        Which "monopoly" is that? Last time I checked there were several competitors including Bing which has market share that is not insignificant.

        • Search+Adsense combination. Have you heard of anyone buying ads from bing? Very few do, it is pretty much insignificant.

          • by msauve (701917)
            There's a large advertising market outside of Google. Saying they have a monopoly with Search+Adsense is like claiming GM has a monopoly on Chevrolets.
            • Er, no, Ads support free search engine (they cannot exist without each other). It is a valid combination in my opinion. And GM does have a monopoly on Chevrolet (are you denying it by any chance :) ).

              • by msauve (701917)
                Whoosh. GM does not have a monopoly, in the legal sense.

                There are lots of different cars available, but if you want a Chevy, you have to go to GM, but that doesn't make them subject to antitrust action for having a monopoly.

                Similarly, there are lots of different means of advertising (or so my TV and magazines tell me), but if you want your ads to show up along with Google search results, you have to advertise with Google. That doesn't make them a monopoly. Google doesn't even have a monopoly if you only
                • but if you want your ads to show up along with Google search results, you have to advertise with Google. That doesn't make them a monopoly. Google doesn't even have a monopoly if you only limit it to web advertising.

                  That is not what I meant by a monopoly. Google has pretty much cornered the search engine ad market. They are leveraging it to promote Google Finance, Maps, Flighs, so on.

                  • Re:Sour Grapes (Score:4, Insightful)

                    by msauve (701917) on Thursday October 25, 2012 @08:14PM (#41772485)
                    "They are leveraging it to promote Google Finance, Maps, Flighs, so on."

                    You really don't understand how this works. It's exactly the opposite. They promote Search, Finance, Maps (what's Flighs?) so they can sell ads.

                    "The search engine ad market" is not something subject to a monopoly, anymore than "the market for Chevrolets" is, which was my original point. It's the advertising market, which is very much bigger than just Google. Google doesn't even have an ad presence on Bing or Yahoo or Yandex or Baidu (as a seller - they appear to actually pay for ads on those sites), so a claim that they've "cornered the search engine ad market" is simply laughable. They've cornered the Google search ad market, just as GM has cornered the Chevrolet market. That in no way gives them a monopoly, of any sort.

                    Beyond that, they certainly haven't cornered the advertising market, even if you limit it to the Internet - there a lots of "free" services paid for with advertising - Facebook is an example, as is craigslist. But, I suppose you'd just say that Facebook has a monopoly over "the social media advertising market."

                    Meh.
    • by multiben (1916126)
      Agree, but they should be careful doing so. It is the quality of their search engine which made them what they are today. Rigging results could be a slippery slope for them. Today it may just be their services. Then their partners. Then their partners' partners. Then they start black-listing their partners' competitors etc. How much rigging will people put up with?
      • by Githaron (2462596)
        In other words, there is no reason for a lawsuit because the market would balance itself out since Google is not the only game in town.
    • by miltonw (892065)

      There is absolutely no proof that Google does "prioritize their services and the services of their partners". Google says they don't and the anti-Google folks claim Google does (but with no proof).

      Now, why is it assumed that what the anti-Google folks claim is true but what the Google folk claim is false? Why do that? Why not either assume innocence "until proven guilty" or, at least, recognize that there are opposing claims, neither of which is proven and either might be true. Why assume guilt when not

      • The biggest problem for those other Web Sites.. is Dynamic web pages.. I.E.. There is nothing to link too.. by Google or 3rd parties, thus the site gets a lower ranking.

        I ran into this problem in Federal lawsuit filed in 2004, where a Large MNC was suing one of it's former manufacturing reps/distributor. One of claims of it's lawsuit was than the former rep was ranked higher (for TM product name), than the manufacturer.. Mind you the rep had removed nearly all references to the products on it's web site

  • The horror! Are we also going to demand that Ford dealerships be forced to sell Chevys and Chryslers?

    • No, because GM and Chrysler have their own affiliated car dealerships. But if Ford Motor Company owned 90% of the car dealerships, it would create an unfair marketplace for car manufacturers, because Ford would be using their dominance in the car dealership industry to give themselves an unfair advantage in the car manufacturing industry.

      • by Aighearach (97333)

        No, Ford would have to have a monopoly and that would be fine. They can open however many dealerships they want. You seem to be confusing a natural market advantage with unfairness. Having a monopoly is not unfair.

        What would be unfair is if they forced service stations to give a discount to customers with Fords, and if they didn't comply they would have to pay double for diagnostic equipment.

        Notice in your example they are just using the natural advantage of owning dealerships and being a car manufacturer.

  • Hold on. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Jeng (926980) on Thursday October 25, 2012 @05:56PM (#41771289)

    Are they guilty of anti-trust issues if the algorithms put their results first, not due to manipulation, but due to popularity?

    • Re:Hold on. (Score:5, Informative)

      by girlintraining (1395911) on Thursday October 25, 2012 @06:05PM (#41771367)

      Are they guilty of anti-trust issues if the algorithms put their results first, not due to manipulation, but due to popularity?

      Not exactly. The entire premise of Google originally was to put results at the top that had the most links to pages which matched keywords and phrases the user entered. But as people started gaming the system by adding links to their site in forums like Slashdot, Reddit, etc., spamming the web to inflate their index rating, Google had to start tweaking the algorithms and making manual changes to attempt to exclude such attempts. In the process of doing this, the manual ranking of certain websites based on other factors (like traffic rankings on Alexis, etc.), became very complicated. In an attempt to monetize their search results as well as provide a way for monied interests to promote their websites without spamming the indexes, they introduced sponsored links, then google ad words, etc. But the spam continues, and so Google finally opted to manually tweak rankings of many vendors, including their own, to put them on the first 10 results consistently.

      So yes, they are manipulating the results, but then... every search engine has to thanks to spammers trying to inflate their ranking.

      • by kqs (1038910)

        But the spam continues, and so Google finally opted to manually tweak rankings of many vendors, including their own, to put them on the first 10 results consistently.

        You were doing so well, until you left facts behind and entered fantasy-land. Google has said that they occasionally mark sites down manually, generally when they're caught misbehaving (for example [slashdot.org]). But they say that they never raise anyone, and nobody has produced any evidence that they do. Lots of whining, but no evidence.

        So the complaints that google puts itself higher in the results seem to be pointless.

        Though many of the complaints are about the one-off results at the top and side, like if you sear

    • I just searched for "airline reservations" in www.google.ca and Expedia is 3rd from the top under Air Canada and Westjet, the two largest airlines in Canada. It certainly doesn't look like Expedia is being discriminated against in Canada unless they use a different algorithm in Canada eh?
      • It is not about the search results. Instead search for "Flights Toronto to Montreal". A google widget shows up at the top above the search results showing todays flights.
  • Break up Google and make them a small player without the funding to continue development on 'side projects' such as android and there non-advertisement/search based cloud products.

    More important of a story would be 'what will internet life be after google', as its not a matter of if, but when they get beat down by the Feds, pushed along by Google's competition.

    • Competition that time and time again has proven completely incapable of producing search products that the large majority of users, consumers and businesses want.

      • by Albanach (527650)

        Competition that time and time again has proven completely incapable of producing search products that the large majority of users, consumers and businesses want.

        Really? Bing is actually pretty nice. I expect their low use is more to do with Google being embedded in everyone's mind (mine included) and being Good Enough.

        Sure there was a time Google were way out in front, but I honestly don't think that's the case these days. Now it's just familiar and comfortable and does the job.

        • by Belial6 (794905)
          That or the fact that MS search was so bad for so long that most people won't bother to go back and try it again. Not to mention the aversion many people have to MS because of other past bad behavior.
          • Indeed. You'd have more luck finding stuff on microsoft.com website via Google than via Microsoft's own search!

        • My experience with Bing is that its search results are pretty dismal compared to Google's. At the end of the day, whatever you think of Google, the fact remains that it has superior search algorithms.

  • Maybe Google should just delist any companies complaining about Google unfairly prioritizing their own products over their competitors. It is their search engine, their advertising platform, and so on.

    • That'd be pretty much a textbook example of anti-trust behavior. Are you trying to get them broken up by the DOJ?

      • Comcast pushes their own pay-per-view shows, and not the shows on other premium channels.

        Thomas Barnett is the "Assistant Attorney General for Antitrust" and also a former lawyer for Microsoft. That looks a little suspecious to me.

      • by J'raxis (248192)

        From whence comes the requirement that Google put anybody in their search engines?

        I'd love to see an anti-trust action against Google---initiated by the spammers and keyword stuffers that Google constantly delists. Maybe that'd show people how ludicrous it is to think Google "has" to include anyone in their search engines. Of course I'm sure there'd be howls of "but that's different!" and the hypocrisy would be lost on most everyone.

        • You have it backwards. It's not about putting everybody in. It's about why they take them out.

          If a site is already indexed and Google wants to delist it, they can't do so "just because". They have to apply the same standards to all sites. And their standard is to provide the most useful search results that they can find from the entire Internet. If someone is gaming the system to gain an enhanced rank, Google can delist the site and defend their decision by pointing out that the site failed to meet the stan

          • by J'raxis (248192)

            I haven't read Google's TOS explicitly, but virtually every IT company I've ever dealt with---and especially the ones that provide free services---has a catch-all clause in their TOS that says something like "we can terminate your access to our service for any reason without notice, cause, or explanation." If Google doesn't have something like this, they damn well should.

            Nobody is entitled to use Google. And certainly nobody is entitled to derive the absolutely free benefits from having Google list them in

  • They systematically reinforce their dominance in search and search advertising

    A.K.A. They make their product easier to use and better, and that's bad because MS and Apple don't like it!

  • I don't get it (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Andrio (2580551) on Thursday October 25, 2012 @06:09PM (#41771401)
    How come no one goes after Apple? They downright refuse anything that competes with their equivalent app. How is that not antitrust?

    I'm not trying to troll or start a flame war. I really am just curious.
    • by sribe (304414)

      How come no one goes after Apple? They downright refuse anything that competes with their equivalent app. How is that not antitrust?

      They don't have a monopoly. Apple sells less than 50% of the smart phones worldwide. Google gets, what, 90% or more of web searches?

      • by Githaron (2462596)
        They only have around a 66% market share [searchenginewatch.com].
        • Interesting. It's worth noting that that's a U.S.-specific number, and that globally they are indeed around 90% (Bing is at about 4.5%), but I suppose the U.S. numbers may be the only ones that matter in this particular discussion?

      • They don't have a monopoly. Apple sells less than 50% of the smart phones worldwide. Google gets, what, 90% or more of web searches?

        Apple sells 100% of the iPhone aps in their App store, and prevents users from installing any other app stores. If that's not anti-competitive "monopoly" of a market I don't know what is. Don't like the iPhone, don't buy it. I could say the same about using Google's search engine. Seriously, your logic is just plain fucked.

        It costs nothing to get listed on Bing, Duck Duck Go, Altavista, etc... So, even if Google does 90% of the search market they're not preventing folks from using alternatives at

    • Thomas Barnett is the "Assistant Attorney General for Antitrust" and also a former lawyer for Microsoft.

      Thomas is pushing for antitrust legislation against Google, right now. Thomas has previously Thom rejected Google's claims against Microsoft.

      Looks a little suspecious to me.

      I think it's fairly clear that Microsoft is behind this. This has Microsoft's M.O. all over it. Remember MS execs going to work for Acacia just before Acacia sued Redhat?

  • Doesn't Google now own Yelp? Why would they have to ask for permission? Here is Yelps' Privacy policy [yelp.com]. It looks ok to me.

    Or does Microsoft want Google to ask permission from the business owners actually being reviewed? Allowing only positive reviews would make the entire point of having reviews completely useless if you ask me, but then, may be that's Microsoft's aim, to make the web more difficult to search and more difficult to filter for everyone.

    • by PTBarnum (233319)

      Google does not own Yelp. Beyond that, I have no idea what agreements, if any, are in place between them.

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yelp,_Inc [wikipedia.org].

    • Google doesn't own Yelp, and the issue is one of content ownership. Yelp worked hard to develop a site where users can come and share reviews. It wants people to come to its site so that it can make money on them. By incorporating data directly from Yelp without permission in such a way that the user is given exactly what they're looking for and has no need to go to Yelp itself, Google is stealing those page views and thus stealing Yelp's profits (quick note: though they used to do this, they may have stopp

  • If this is a bad thing, why is it that when I go to one big grocery store, they sell their own made stuff for cheaper? Then when I go to another big grocery store, they sell their own stuff for cheaper. And oddly enough, the stores don't sell their own lines in the other stores. But the big name foods have no problem selling in both stores, even though their stuff is usually sold for more money.

    Maybe I'm missing something, but it doesn't seem like any anti-trust here, but normal business practice.

    • by Rockoon (1252108)

      If this is a bad thing, why is it that when I go to one big grocery store, they sell their own made stuff for cheaper?

      Your argument might have some teeth if it didn't overlook the fact that the re-branded Stop & Shop bread is made by the same factory that makes the re-branded Big Y bread. They are both selling the same product made by the same factory, just with different packaging.

      • by Aighearach (97333)

        Sometimes yes, sometimes no. So, fail.

        The real point you miss is that a store can sell whatever they want. The regulations come in when they use their position to lean on another business. Selling your own brands you're not leaning on anybody, not manipulating anything, you're just competing.

        If they told a supplier that they had to increase their price to other stores, and if they didn't they would get put on the worst shelf, then that is the sort of thing that would be manipulation... and is actually okay

  • I use it because it has a clean, austere look and it loads fast. Something that no competitor has bothered with yet, as far as I can tell.
  • What is wrong with Google advertising their own products, or services?

    • I'm not sure it's really advertising...

      For example, I can ask Google "What time is it in Hanoi?" [google.com] the first result is the answer. The second, third, etc. results are for various sites which offer a similar service.

      I got my answer from Google. I don't need to go to those sites.

  • by nimbius (983462) on Thursday October 25, 2012 @06:35PM (#41771627) Homepage

    basically snored through lycos and yahoo while they presided over the supremacy of search, totally disregarded the fact that microsofts bing engine routinely omits and enhances results in its favor, and quietly turned a blind eye to the fact that the Apple App store wont allow competing services it already provides. Yet google, nearly 10 years after achieving search dominance, is an unacceptable demon to the marketplace that must be stopped at all cost. makes total sense if you're a pork sucking kickback crook looking to be auctioned to the highest bidder.

    my advice is dont. Google would have to do very little arm twisting to convince your "coalition" to essentially stop what theyre doing. they can blacklist any advertiser they like, for any reason. im actually rather surprised thomas barnett's lawfirm still shows up in the search results.

  • by Cyberllama (113628) on Thursday October 25, 2012 @06:35PM (#41771633)

    So wait, which is it? Google is unfairly prioritizing their own services, or unfairly indexing others? Yelp is their competitor. They have their own competing service in Google Places.

    You can't have it both ways. You can't say on the one hand that they're "stealing" when they index other people's content and you can't argue that they're being anti-competitive if they don't have enough of other people's content, or other people's content not highly enough ranked. And, bottom line, Google has flatly denied that they do this. They have been explicit in stating that they do not tinker with their algorithm to make their services show up higher than others--so unless you have some evidence they're lying, then what's your case going to be?

    • by Scowler (667000)

      And why can't you have it both ways? It's to Google's advantage to link to other's content "piecewise" when that content is superior to what Google offers (or if that is the impression of most internet users anyways). In such case, Google may get as much ad revenue as the linked-to site.

      And it's clearly also to Google's advantage to make one or two brief links to their own service, "top-level" at the same time. i.e. "Here's what you were probably looking for (please glance at our ads before clicking on

  • but y'know, all my contacts, most of my photos and music, a bunch of my scripts and data . . . all live out there in Google's hands.

    (Google): "Nice digital snapshot collection you got there . . . be a shame if someone was to wave an electromagnet over your JPEG's there, buddy."

  • What these companies are complaining about are not the search results. The search results are the blocks of links and text with 10 entries to a page. Above the search results Google sometimes displays a Web 2.0 data. It will show a Google maps if it thinks your looking for directions. It will show Google shopping if it thinks your shopping. It will show flight times if it thinks your searching for flights. This contextual data Google pulls from its own services. Google is limited by copyright law what it c

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