Search Neutrality

A principle that search engines should have no editorial policies, excepting their preferences for comprehensiveness, impartiality, and relevance.

Congress takes aim at Google search in antitrust hearing

The Senate Judiciary Committee met to discuss tech companies unfairly favoring their own products. And Sen Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) announced the "Anticompetitive Exclusionary Conduct Prevention Act" to limit “exclusionary conduct” where a big company locks out smaller competitors, among other changes to antitrust law. It increases the burden of proof on monopolists to prove they’re not suppressing competition, and it discourages courts from granting immunity from antitrust enforcement.

Do Consumers Understand Google Results?

A federal appeals court grappled March 5 with whether average consumers know the difference between the ads and the organic search results that appear on Google. Arguing before the US Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit, 1-800 Contacts — which is seeking to reverse a Federal Trade Commission decision that its trademark agreements violated antitrust law — contended that they don’t understand.

Google fined ~$166 million by France over search ads

Autorité de la concurrence, France's competition authority, fined Google €150 million ($166 million) for abusing its dominant position in online advertising. At issue are the ads that appear next to search results. France's competition authority says that Google rules governing how and when advertisers can show their ads next to search results are applied in an "unfair and random manner."

How Google Interferes With Its Search Algorithms and Changes Your Results

Google has increasingly re-engineered and interfered with search results to a far greater degree than the company and its executives have acknowledged. Those actions often come in response to pressure from businesses, outside interest groups and governments around the world. They have increased sharply since the 2016 election and the rise of online misinformation. Google’s evolving approach marks a shift from its founding philosophy of “organizing the world’s information,” to one that is far more active in deciding how that information should appear.

50 US states and territories announce broad antitrust investigation of Google

Attorneys general for 50 US states and territories officially announced an antitrust investigation of Google (CA and AL are the only states that have not signed onto the probe), embarking on a wide-ranging review of a tech giant that the officials said may threaten competition, consumers and the continued growth of the web.

Keeping Thumbs Off the Scale: Nondiscrimination on Digital Platforms

Digital platforms, be they search engines like Google or marketplaces like Amazon and the Apple app store, rely on similar algorithms, which have since conditioned us to trust the top search results by virtue of the Wisdom of Crowds. But this logic assumes that the algorithms doing traffic control only discriminate based on the user’s preferences. And in recent years, reports have emerged that some of the large platforms may nudge their algorithms to favor their own results over competitors.

Google will charge search providers to be the Android default in Europe

Starting in early 2020, Google will present a new search provider choice screen to Android users in Europe when first setting up a new phone or tablet. The selection will then be the default search provider that powers the search box on the Android home screen as well as the Chrome browser if installed. Search providers will be required to pay Google each time a user selects them from the choice screen. Inclusion on the choice screen will be determined through a sealed-bid auction, with the top three bidders added alongside Google search.

Apple Dominates App Store Search Results, Thwarting Competitors

Apple’s mobile apps routinely appear first in search results ahead of competitors in its App Store, a powerful advantage that skirts some of the company’s rules on such rankings. The company’s apps ranked first in more than 60% of basic searches, such as for “maps,” the analysis showed. Apple apps that generate revenue through subscriptions or sales, like Music or Books, showed up first in 95% of searches related to those apps. This dominance gives the company an upper hand in a marketplace that generates $50 billion in annual spending.


Blandin Foundation

Tue, 10/08/2019 - 09:00 to Thu, 10/10/2019 - 17:00

Broadband access today is as varied as communities across Minnesota. Some enjoy a gig, others are working hard for any service, and the rest are somewhere in between. This conference is for all communities, regardless of where they are on the spectrum – because we’ve learned that having broadband isn’t enough. It takes inspiration, encouragement and guidance to reap the full benefits. We’ll be talking about how to make the most of what you’ve got and/or get more.

This year’s conference will shine a light on local broadband heroes as well as look at several aspects of broadband:

Google employees go public to protest China search engine Dragonfly

More than 30 Google employees have joined a petition protesting the company’s plans to build a search engine that complies with China’s online censorship regime. An employee-led backlash against the project has been churning for months at the company, but Nov 27’s petition marks the first time workers at Google have used their names in a public document objecting to the plans. The existence of the project, code-named Dragonfly, was confirmed by chief executive Sundar Pichai in Oct.