You are browsing the archive for Search Engines.

FTC should proceed with case against Google

2:44 pm in Uncategorized by Consumer Watchdog

 When you stare down a $220 billion corporation, it’s hard not to blink. But if the Federal Trade Commission doesn’t deliver on its ultimatum to Google that it settle its antitrust problems soon for real relief or face prosecution, then consumers will never get the open and unfettered online and mobile access to information they deserve.

While the government’s battle with Microsoft in the 1990s was about whether the dominant software company could bundle software and an Internet browser, the antitrust case against Google is about whether one company should have so much control over online information that it can steer us any where it chooses for its own profit.

This is the power to make or break businesses, control online discourse, and steer consumers to the Internet giant’s own websites and affiliated businesses, all based on tweaking an unseen algorithm and holding a network of key online and mobile gateways and properties.

Google’s 70% control of online searches and 90% control of mobile searches, along with its dominant Android mobile operating system, patents, and vast content acquisitions make it the Standard Oil of our time.

The allegations against Google are that it restrains online trade with biased search results that drive consumers to the content it owns (Google Travel, Products, YouTube, Maps, Google+, etc.) or content it chooses, as opposed to that favored organically by the public.

Restraint of trade may be different today than in 1911 when the U.S. Supreme Court ordered John Rockefeller’s Standard Oil broken into parts under the Sherman Antitrust Act. Nonetheless the antitrust principle of preventing dominant players from playing unfairly and hurting consumers by driving out legitimate competition is very real for Google’s 2012 business model.

The principle at stake in the FTC case is critical:

If you want to do business online, should you be forced to do business with Google?

Read the rest of this entry →

Keep The Internet Free

1:07 pm in Uncategorized by Consumer Watchdog

Photobucket

Should one company be able to control how you use the Internet and what you see?

Google — with 70% of online search and 90% of mobile search markets — is increasingly doing this. Evidence before the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) shows that Google skews its results towards its own services and commercial priorities, when consumers believe they are getting the most “popular” organic result.

After a year’s probe the FTC’s staff has recommended antitrust prosecution, but politics may be stopping the suit. Please send an email today asking the Commission to approve that antitrust suit.

Consumer Watchdog cheered when the FTC took up its antitrust investigation, which we began calling for more than two years ago. Recently there have been reports that the Commissioners are wavering and may not act against the Internet giant. You can help us make sure the five commissioners don’t cave.

Google uses its monopoly on the Internet and in the mobile space to bias searches in favor of its own products and services, harming consumers and competitors alike. The time for action is now. Ask the Commission to adopt its staff’s recommendation and approve an an antitrust suit against Google.

For more information on our support for the FTC’s antitrust investigation read our letter to the Commission here.
______________________________________________________________________
Posted by John M. Simpson. John is a leading voice on technological privacy and stem cell research issues. His investigations this year of Google’s online privacy practices and book publishing agreements triggered intense media scrutiny and federal interest in the online giant’s business practices. His critique of patents on human embryonic stem cells has been key to expanding the ability of American scientists to conduct stem cell research. He has ensured that California’s taxpayer-funded stem cell research will lead to broadly accessible and affordable medicine and not just government-subsidized profiteering. Prior to joining Consumer Watchdog in 2005, he was executive editor of Tribune Media Services International, a syndication company. Before that, he was deputy editor of USA Today and editor of its international edition. Simpson taught journalism a Dublin City University in Ireland, and consulted for The Irish Times and The Gleaner in Jamaica. He served as president of the World Editors Forum. He holds a B.A. in philosophy from Harpur College of SUNY Binghamton and was a Gannett Fellow at the Center for Asian and Pacific Studies at the University of Hawaii. He has an M.A. in Communication Management from USC’s Annenberg School for Communication.