Daten Kraken

Daten Kraken

The EU’s anti-monopoly probe into Google is explored in an article in the Guardian. The Commission have decided to re-open it. The enquiry has been focused on search, but been given greater relevance by the consumer move to phones. Unlike Microsoft in the last century, Google have engaged with the Commission while defending their business model, which is to build queries that users want. The allegation is that they prefer their own property to that of others. The Commission was about to publish a settlement but Google’s competitors, including Microsoft and the French & German governments objected.  …

Google deleted five million index entries in a week

Google deleted five million index entries in a week

Earlier today, Torrent Freak published an article detailing the number of take down requests that Google receives and acts upon, in the previous week, they report

Google received DMCA notices from 5,407 copyright owners and reporting organizations requesting the removal of 5,310,080 URLs spanning a total of 37,413 domains.

Obviously, I have been exposed to the copyright maximalist’s constant propaganda at #lab13 and further with the press coverage of the Select Committee, so its great to see this reported. The Torrentfreak article ends, …

Have the US killed their cloud business?

As the proof that Governments are spying on social media users is found, we should all take measures to make it hard. I am sure that they’ll try and outlaw encryption next, but they might have a problem with that since it’ll kill e-commerce. Talking of killing e-commerce, a number of commentators, including David Kirkpatrick posting at linkedin are asking if this will cause Europeans and their Governments to withdraw from the US cloud providers.

The Swedish Government, for instance have already decided to abandon Google’s web services. …

And now it’s Google’s turn, this time it’s privacy

Simon Davies, who writes a Blog called the Privacy Surgeon has today commented on the EU Commission’s latest intervention against Google. His article, Europe to Google: respect our laws or face the consequences details the actions taken by the EU’s regulators, led by France which has amongst the strongest data protection and privacy laws in the EU. His article’s title sums up his views as to what is happening.

I have been meaning to write up my views that Google may have jumped the shark, but it’ll have to wait ’till another day, meanwhile, here’s another piece of evidence. …

Search Neutrality goes to Parliament

Earlier this week I attended the @pictfor meeting advertised as about “Search Neutrality”. It had entered my radar when Alec Muffett who had been invited to speak, announced his attendance on twitter and his Computer World blog, “The Google Dialogues : Search Neutrality”. The speakers were Alec, and Shivaun Raff, the CEO of Foundem and Mark Margaretten, Professor at U. of Bedford. Foundem is one of the complaintants to the EU provoking an EU monopoly investigation into Google. This is covered in the Guardian, on the 20th November, in an article called “Google search investigation sparked by complaint from British site”.

Shivaun argued that Google manipulates its sort order to benefit its own alternative properties, particularly the price comparison sites. (Foundem is a vertical price comparison site.) They argue that over 90% of European search is fulfilled by Google, and that when Google chose to discriminate against them, their traffic fell off to a business breaking trickle.

Alec and Mark took a similar line to each other, Google is one click away from failure, relevance including sort order is subject to competitive pressure & no-one has a right to a place in a search engine’s sort order. Alec in his blog post points at James Grimelmann’s article,“Some Skepticism about Search Neutrality” who makes similar points, although Grimmelmann argues that vertical search sites are rarely useful or usable. Margaretten dealt with this less judgmentally by pointing out that Google also prefers sites with original content, which is why aggregator sites do less well. He reinforced the point that there are good reasons to devalue vertical search sites, although Foundem can prove that they were specifically penalised. Grimmelman distinguishes between regulating for “Search Neutrality” which he opposes and anti-trust law which he argues is different and has its own theory and practice. The meeting missed this dichotomy between monopoly regulation and search neutrality.

Shivaun Raff was backed up by a spokesperson from Streetmap, who provided some evidence that Google had manipulated their sort order when they launched Google maps in order to better compete with the established players. I hope that they have made a submission to the Commission. The talk in the bar after was that streetmap lost out due to Google Maps technical superiority particularly features such as navigation, user generated content, personal customisation and world wide coverage; however even if this is true it doesn’t necessarily mean that the allegation of malicious action is unjustified.

I’ll be interested to see if the Commission come to consider Google to be a monopoly. It dominates in search, and its maps and mail are wildly popular but it’s definitely second choice for microblogging (g+) where it’s outgunned by twitter and facebook, identity assurance where Google Profile trails behind twitter and facebook, picture blogging (Yahoo), bookmarks (delicious and reddit) and blogging (wordpress). It’s interesting to consider this in the light of some changes made by google to their user experience over the last couple of months where they are staring to build walls around their services to make it harder to share one’s data with other companies services. For instance, they have wrecked Google Reader for me since I can now only share news via Google+, there is now no open XML feed for these. I’ll explore this in another post soon. …

Enhancing Google Maps

I have just updated my South Coast Travel public google map to include placemarks with links to the BBC and Met. Office weather reports. I am disappointed that they have no obvious weather icon and that the i icon is available in only one colour.

I did poke around the Google maps API pages and may take this further so that I can incorporate the page into www.davelevy.info, but if its like yahoo, this could be a bit difficult.

Otherwise its screen shot and link to the Google Maps URL …