European Union regulators asked Google Inc. rivals and customers whether the company’s search engine alters search results, Le Figaro reported, citing a questionnaire regulators distributed as part of a probe.I would like to comment here because I will probably say the opposite of what most people expect to hear.
The European Commission also asked companies whether Google signaled that increased advertising spending might improve a search ranking and asked them to comment on increases in advertising rates over the last six years, Le Figaro said in a report yesterday.
Setting aside the fact that this is an evil act or not, given Google's commitment to "do no Evil", I would like to point out how stupid the EU behaviour is, and also what a free world could mean, if such a thing existed:
First, let's talk about private property:
As far as I know, Google.com belongs to Google Inc. So when you browse to their domain, you are on their private property. Moreover, their algorithm that searches for results also belongs to them, it's their intellectual property. They are allowed to do whatever they like with it. This would also mean that they are allowed to not show the competitors results, if they do not want to do so.
It wouldn't be fair play, it wouldn't be the best possible result set, but it doesn't matter here.
Then again, if we speak about freedom:
When you send a search to Google.com you do so willingly. Nobody forces you to do it, and you are free to just walk out to somebody else property, or web site for what does matter here. So Google could be free to show you results that you do not like, and if they do so, you are free to walk out.
The same way as if a restaurant serves food that doesn't satisfy their customers, customers would walk to competition and the restaurant would either have to change the chef or fill for bankruptcy, Google will have to change their search algorithm or lose customers to competition.
As long as the Google customers are happy with the results, why would we need the EU? Easy, the competitors are probably lobbying (read: paying) the EU commission for that. So in a statist economy, when you can't compete product wise, you will compete in courts, using the corrupt government as your ally.
- Supposing I create a search engine, and my algorithm is poor, so it doesn't show good results at all (any one remembers Lycos? AltaVista? Yahoo Search???) would the EU come after me and ask me why I'm not showing such and such result?
- Google is now doing such a great job at finding the relevant information that when something doesn't show up, you think it's purposefully. That's an amazing achievement. Nonetheless, could it simply be that their algorithm is not 100% accurate?