|15A028 EU vs Google by Jim Davies, 4/20/2015
Two young Stanford grads began Google in 1998, Larry Page and Sergey Brin, a Russian immigrant. Their innovation was as significant as Gutenberg's invention of moveable type. Suddenly, anyone with a mind could access all manner of information on any subject worldwide, at the click of a mouse.
Governments' contributions to the availability of information have been limited to providing "public libraries", funding them by holding guns to the heads of taxpayers, and to establishing government schools using the same technique. The former was useful in its day; the latter has proven a disaster except in fulfilling its primary purpose: to teach every rising generation the virtues of government and the need to obey it.
Now, the EU - the emerging supra-government of Europe - is threatening to hobble Google. It's an "anti-trust" action, wherein an entity that monopolizes the legitimate use of force harasses other entities that seem close to monopolizing some section of peaceful and productive commerce. The moan in this case is that Google responds to customer searches for goods and services by favoring vendors who are within Google's own orbit, or actually owned by the company. They say that isn't fair, especially as Google has 90% of the market.
I can see the point. If I search for a supplier of a book, I'd like to see links to eBay and Amazon and Abe Books and B&N and others, as well as any affiliated with Google. However, if my annoyance expands beyond twanging point, I'll switch search engines. I counted 11 that pop up in a little window for me, including Yahoo, Bing and DuckDuckGo. I wonder from where they get their names.
In fact, I have already switched away from Google, though for a different reason; I now use IxQuick, because they promise not to keep a list of subjects for which I searched. Don't know how IxQuick makes its money, but the engine works fine; and Firefox users can make it their default searcher. Any European unhappy with Google can do likewise.
If several of them do, and let it be known they don't like Google's bias towards their own affiliated vendors, it's likely that in its own interests Google will change its policy. That's the beauty of the market: the customer really is king.
The last thing anyone needs is government interference. Well, not quite "anyone"; the law suit the EU has launched will provide employment for a good number of otherwise useless bureaucrats and lawyers. No doubt that provides its primary motivation.
I got to wonder why, if a government like the EU is earnestly concerned about fairness to shoppers, it hasn't done more in the past to regulate product recommendations. Most large stores have an information or "Customer Service" desk, and smaller ones have staff on the sales floor ready to answer customer enquiries. They answer enquiries - searches - by directing customers to the appropriate location within their own store. Yet if the benighted lady speaking for the EU had her way, the desk clerk in Galeries Lafayette or Selfridges would be obliged to answer all customer enquiries by suggesting a visit also to Carrefour or Marks & Spencer. Ludicrous!
The scariest bit is that these monstrous rules about how businesses shall do business, are being written by parasites who have no idea how to manage an enterprise that can win revenue only by pleasing customers. It is a compete and radical mis-match! Governments don't have to please anybody; they just issue an edict, and it's done.
How will Google respond, I wonder? How would I respond, were I in charge?
One possibility worth exploring would be to create a detailed web page about the EU, rather in the style of Wikipedia, load it up, and ensure that its link appeared in the #1 spot on every Google search page responding to requests for anything loosely connected with Europe. The page would be truthful of course, but would reveal aspects of the EU that are not normally discussed by the mainstream press or other information pages.
Things like the radical difference between a "common market" and the suffocating, arrogant bureaucracy for which Brussels has become famous. Things like the worthless intrinsic nature of the EU's currency. Things like the gross dishonesty and deception involved in both the claiming and the granting of Euro-loans to member governments.
Because Google has 90% of the search-engine market, European kiddies and all others thirsty for knowledge of the subject would gain an understanding, from that page, that they would never be taught in government schools. And that would be very bad news indeed for the EU and all the parasites who sail in her. So much so, they might just drop their hostility towards Google and pick a softer target.
Will the Company's CEO countenance such a vigorous counter attack? Larry Page, pictured, has taken back that job so perhaps he will, but the Chairman remains Eric Schmidt, and his Wiki entry suggests he is a statist from head to toe. Raised in Washington DC, he was schooled at Princeton and Berkeley and was "a campaign advisor and major donor to Barack Obama and served on Google’s government relations team." Not exactly the kind of background that equips one to say Boo! to any government goose.
The European Union and all its member governments will implode a few years after the US ones, as replicative radical re-education sweeps the Continent as it is sweeping here. When that has happened, search engine firms will be free to do business to please only customers and owners.