Feeds

MP: Googlepoly hurts British business

You are in a twisty world of Google sites, all alike

Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction

The UK is heading for a "bleakly uniform world of Google everything" unless the company is constrained, Parliament heard yesterday in a special debate on the power of search engines.

Government should protect and foster competition in e-commerce argued Labour MP for Hyndburn, said Graham Jones, who called the debate.

"British companies are being stifled. Moreover, the Treasury is losing out," warned Jones.

Jones' constituency is home to Reach Global, which runs several vertical search engines including NetMovers. Jones described it as "a very British business" - "they pay UK taxes, and employ and train British people, but they are being squeezed out." Google used its leverage of its monopoly to promote its own services, he said.

He added that the introduction of Google's shopping product caused traffic to price comparison sites to fall by 41 per cent over two years, while internet traffic in general had risen 30 per cent. "Google Maps decimated traffic to Multimap and Streetmap."

Foundem, one of the companies that has prompted a European Commission antitrust investigation into Google practices, saw its business suffer after it was sin-binned by Google. The move followed Google's introduction of its own rival shopping service. Foundem continued to be highly placed in search results in Yahoo! and Bing.

Jones noted "speculation that Google may seek to acquire, or seek preferential contracts with, 3G networks specifically to harness advantageous proprietary Google technology into that network, which again would be to the disadvantage of other companies".

"It is time to look beyond network neutrality and consider search neutrality: the principle that search engines should have no editorial policies other than that their results be comprehensive, impartial and based solely on relevance."

Without this, he argued, there would be one network to rule us. "Without search neutrality rules to constrain Google's competitive advantage, we may be heading toward a bleakly uniform world of Google everything - Google Travel, Google Finance, Google Insurance, Google Property, Google Telecoms and, of course, Google Books."

Jones pointed out that the company's track record of innovation was overstated, as almost all of Google's successful products and services had been acquired. "Some will argue that Google is so innovative that we need not worry, but Google Maps, Google Earth, Google Groups, Google Docs, Google Analytics, Android and many other Google products are all based on technology that Google has acquired rather than invented."

Minister for Culture, Communications and Creative Industries Ed Vaizey said gave Jones little comfort. He noted that the EU anti-trust "reflects the widespread concerns", but felt the UK was a competitive market and the Office of Fair Trading investigated the issue about 18 months ago.

Google's role at the heart of government has come under increasing scrutiny. One of the co-founders of the Independent newspaper Stephen Glover recently wondered why Chancellor George Osborne had co-written an editorial piece with outgoing Google CEO Eric Schmidt.

"I can't imagine a member of the Government doing a piece with Rupert Murdoch," Glover noted. You can imagine the reaction if he had.

What's good for Google, it seems, must be good for the UK. ®

Top three mobile application threats

More from The Register

next story
Putin tells Snowden: Russia conducts no US-style mass surveillance
Gov't is too broke for that, Russian prez says
Lavabit loses contempt of court appeal over protecting Snowden, customers
Judges rule complaints about government power are too little, too late
Don't let no-hire pact suit witnesses call Steve Jobs a bullyboy, plead Apple and Google
'Irrelevant' character evidence should be excluded – lawyers
EFF: Feds plan to put 52 MILLION FACES into recognition database
System would identify faces as part of biometrics collection
Record labels sue Pandora over vintage song royalties
Companies want payout on recordings made before 1972
Edward Snowden on his Putin TV appearance: 'Why all the criticism?'
Denies Q&A cameo was meant to slam US, big-up Russia
Ex-Tony Blair adviser is new top boss at UK spy-hive GCHQ
Robert Hannigan to replace Sir Iain Lobban in the autumn
Judge halts spread of zombie Nortel patents to Texas in Google trial
Epic Rockstar patent war to be waged in California
German space centre endures cyber attack
Chinese code retrieved but NSA hack not ruled out
APPLE FAILS to ditch class action suit over ebook PRICE-FIX fiasco
Do not pass go, do cough (up to) $840m in damages
prev story

Whitepapers

Mainstay ROI - Does application security pay?
In this whitepaper learn how you and your enterprise might benefit from better software security.
Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Top three mobile application threats
Learn about three of the top mobile application security threats facing businesses today and recommendations on how to mitigate the risk.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.