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EU Antitrust Chief: Google "Diverting Traffic" & Will Be Forced To Change 329

Dupple writes "It looks like the EU is coming close to a decision regarding its investigation of Google. While saying he's 'still investigating,' the head of the European Union's antitrust regulatory body has said that he's convinced Google is 'diverting traffic' and that it will be forced to change its results. From the article: 'Despite the U.S. Federal Trade Commission's move earlier this month to let off Google with a slap on the wrist -- albeit, a change to its business practices, a move that financially wouldn't dent Google in the short term but something any company would seek to avoid -- the European Commission is looking to take a somewhat different approach: take its time, and then hit the company hard.'"
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EU Antitrust Chief: Google "Diverting Traffic" & Will Be Forced To Change

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 11, 2013 @05:38AM (#42555871)

    But then they have to start paying taxes.... And the tax break they get laundering their money through Ireland an the Netherlands is a lot bigger than a possible fine...

  • by LordLucless ( 582312 ) on Friday January 11, 2013 @05:58AM (#42555937)

    So? Even if they were, why is that a problem? A search engine exists for end users to find what they're looking for, not to give commercial entities some sort of equal platform for advertising. I ask a question, Google tells me what it thinks the best answer is. What does the EU want? The ability to vet Googles' search algorithms?

  • by kasperd ( 592156 ) on Friday January 11, 2013 @06:16AM (#42556007) Homepage Journal
    Web search was Google's primary business, which is why they stopped doing it. Sounds strange? Nevertheless that is roughly what happened.

    Initially there was, and it was a web search engine. Later Google started introducing other kinds of searches, which would be hosted on subpages/subdomains of Since web search was the primary business, it remained on the front page.

    At some point Google thought it would be good for the users if they could type in their search query in one place and get merged results from all of the different kinds of search, which Google is offering. That was introduced a few years ago, and it was considered such a great idea, that it would go on the front page, displacing the web search.

    All the other kinds of search still had their own URLs, on which the individual kind of search could be used. But Google websearch never had such a page in the first place, because it had been on the front page. So now Google is no longer offering websearch alone.

    Google should reintroduce the websearch on a subdomain like or similar. And it should also introduce a subdomain for the merged search like (or something shorter). Having those existing as separate pages allowing you to search them separately is both a service to the users, who sometimes want to search specific kind of content, and also clears up some of the confusion leading to stories like this one.

    Once those two kind of searches each have their own page, the remaining question is which of them users should see when they just go to At that point authorities will sound even more stupid, once they come and say, you are not allowed to show all search results from the front page, only web search. But it would be less of a problem for Google to comply, because even if it does comply, the search page with all results, which users prefer, will still exist on a slightly longer URL.

    While they are at it. I think they should also introduce or something like that, where you can go if you specifically want to search in ads. Payment rules should be slightly different for such a page. A larger percentage of users are likely to click on an ad on such a page, and the price per click should be adjusted down accordingly. Additionally those are users who want to see the ads, and thus should be shown any appropriate ads, even if the advertiser is out of budget.
  • by theVarangian ( 1948970 ) on Friday January 11, 2013 @06:48AM (#42556107)

    So? Even if they were, why is that a problem? A search engine exists for end users to find what they're looking for, not to give commercial entities some sort of equal platform for advertising. I ask a question, Google tells me what it thinks the best answer is. What does the EU want? The ability to vet Googles' search algorithms?

    What does the EU want? It wants Google, a company that has a monopoly on the search engine market, to stop abusing it's dominant positon which it is allegedly now using to try and kill off competitors by wilfully burying results that link to their (competing) services. I don't think the EU gives a rat's ass about what is in Google's blackbox as long as you can put in your search term and get output int the form of fair and balanced search results. I watched a documentary yesterday where an industry observer described Google as an 'adolescent' and postulated that we have not yet seen the real giant that Google will become. Now if somebody had taught Microsoft some manners back when it was still a teenager perhaps we would have been spared a whole lot of pain over the years. Microsoft was only taught a modicum of manners (by the EU) when it was far too late but perhaps we can avoid the mistakes we made with MS by teaching Google to behave before it is once again too late and the damage is done.

  • Re:No google for u! (Score:3, Interesting)

    by FireFury03 ( 653718 ) <> on Friday January 11, 2013 @06:56AM (#42556123) Homepage

    The internet still exists, it's just awfully hard to find.

    I know this might be hard to believe, but Google isn't the only search engine...

  • Keep on dreaming (Score:4, Interesting)

    by dutchwhizzman ( 817898 ) on Friday January 11, 2013 @08:08AM (#42556359)

    Google has a profile on you and they have your android device(s) and your home ISP perfectly matched up to that. Even if you don't own android and don't have a google account, they have a "virtual profile" on you. Not only that, but even if you never use google services even as an anonymous user, they probably have your home address and telephone number in their database, including an IP address for your home computer. Yes, thank the people you gave that information to that put it in their android device, which get synced, how conveniently, to Google's cloud.

    Google may not be actively telling that they have this information nicely catalogued available to themselves. They may not even have all their internal applications linked exactly this way, but we all know it would be trivial for them to come up with the queries to produce the information I just described. Once there's profit in doing so, they most certainly will do it in a heartbeat. Since several large companies (the "Target knows you're pregnant" article comes to mind) have already admitted they profile their customers/users this way, it'd be very unrealistic for Google not to do this. If even a grocery store can make money on this, a company that makes their money on selling user demographics would most certainly profit from virtual profiles and linking based on probability.

  • by FireFury03 ( 653718 ) <> on Friday January 11, 2013 @08:56AM (#42556531) Homepage

    So what you're saying is, if Google is just using an algorithmic search method, and it happens to select their own sites because they are popular in their own right and legitimate results, they're not doing anything wrong?

    No. If you go to google's web search and you search for a local business, amoungst all the search results, fairly near the top, it will give you a link to Google Maps showing you where that business is. It won't give you a link to bing maps, openstreetmap, etc. This isn't because google maps is more popular, its because google integrate their own mapping product with their search engine but don't integrate competing products with it. Google *could* provide an API to allow other services to integrate, but they don't.

  • Re:No google for u! (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Bengie ( 1121981 ) on Friday January 11, 2013 @09:17AM (#42556635)
    Too bad DDG doesn't track me like Google does. I get much better results from Google because it tracks me and integrates into gmail and G+. I don't see it as much as a privacy concern as much as I do an optimization. Data collected from tracking is highly relevant to my search results.
  • Re:No google for u! (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Runaway1956 ( 1322357 ) on Friday January 11, 2013 @11:33AM (#42557949) Homepage Journal

    Google's tracking gives you good search results? Funny, I've found that permitting tracking often causes ridiculous search results. One of my purchases, for instance. I bought a scarf - nice wool scarf, long and wide, perfect for wrapping around your neck to cover the bare spot between your motorcycle helmet and your armored jacket. One of the tags associated with that scarf was "fashion".

    As a result, I get various search results associated with "fashion", but I don't see "motorcycle" or "cold weather gear", or "wool", any any of dozens of more applicable things.

    I may not be the very last guy you would ask about fashion, but I'm pretty damned close to whoever is last.

    To be fair, I block a lot of tracking, including much of Google's own tracking. All the same, I have NEVER performed a search that included the "fashion" tag. Never, ever, ever, not once. I have done countless searches with the words wool, motorcycle, Honda, GL500, Twisted Twin, and more. I get no results in my everyday searches associated tith those terms, or others that I commonly use.

    To be clear - those "fashion" hits never appeared on my search pages UNTIL I purchased that blue and white checkered scarf.

God help those who do not help themselves. -- Wilson Mizner