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Is Google abusing its position?

Google is the subject of talk again on Rebecca’s World and in the media. You may have read a previous Google article ‘Morality on the internet’ or ‘Fashionable Google’; however this post is questioning Google’s search engine appearance, as an investigation by EU is being launched into Google’s honesty.

Google is being investigated after sites such as Foundem (price comparison) and ejustice.fr (search engine) and Microsoft’s Ciao issued complaints. These sites claim that Google have penalised their websites and favour its own services.

Foundem and ejustice.fr have complained that Google have treated their sites differently as they are in the same competitive market. With the BBC’s figures in 2010 stating Google,

“has about a 65% share of the US market and about 90% in Europe”

It is clear why these sites have filed complaints, Google’s impact is overwhelming and they may feel this is due to Google’s ‘own specific structure’. Though the enormity of Google is bound to upset a few people, or should I say companies along the way.

The issues raised highlight and emphasise to us, (users of the web), just how prominent Google is in our everyday lives. I have seen Google as many people’s homepage and a commonly used search engine for absolutely anything from recipes to spellings to Google Scholar. The best example of Google being put to good use was when a friend of mine searched for Google. On Google. It almost brought a tear to my eye and made me realise the rise and expansion of Google has effectively made us (oblivious) and more dependent on the search engine. How many of us have Google as our home page? Let’s be honest. *Raises hand*.

From reading articles discussing the allegations towards Google you can understand the viewpoints of those websites filing complaints. They want answers, clarity, a resolution and a fairer search engine platform on the web. However, Google have responded by explaining how results (of those websites filing) are ranked. The reasons for these websites having little coverage, is not down to Google’s manipulation, but these sites are ranked poorly due to compelling reasons such as Foundem duplicating a large majority of its website content from other sites. The originality of a website is the first protocol to ensure trust between a company and a user. Copying does not sit well with most people.

I will continue to ‘search’ and report on the Google investigation in the upcoming weeks. Keep following the stories on Google by subscribing to this blog.

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  1. jean-philippe
    December 1, 2010 at 12:17 AM

    I think it’s a matter of time before something as huge as Google decides rules don’t apply to the powerful.

    It’s sad but the best argument to be good for a lot of people is the fear of being caught.

    • December 2, 2010 at 12:13 PM

      It is a sad fact that fear does seem to work as a good ‘punishment’. It is questionable how Google operates as a search engine and I think this investigation raises a few interesting questions.

  2. December 1, 2010 at 12:12 PM

    Yeah, i think i see what you mean, and I totally agree. Also *hand raised* to google homepage =/ xxx

  3. December 2, 2010 at 11:34 AM

    I use the defealt Mozilla firefox homepage which contains a Google search engine. My college tool bar contains a Google search engine as well. In fact investigation that this news topic has led me to investigate has really opened my eyes to how huge Google is. As you may have guessed from my image huge companies like this are far outside of what I believe to be the right way to progress. But a big business is one thing, an internet tycoon is quite another and Google is indeed an internet tycoon of the highest level. So, say we wanted to stop or reduce Google? How is that possible? Is it possible?

    • December 2, 2010 at 12:10 PM

      It is hard to predict how Google will change in the future, but it is an eye opener when you realise just how dominant Google is on the Web.
      Valid points from cormac 251- can Google be reduced? It is a subject certainly open to debate!

  4. December 2, 2010 at 12:21 PM

    jean-philippe :

    Still, the bigger Google gets, the more alternatives we’ll see… Like these…

    I will try out those search engines in the future, fantastic link!

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