jecasc - 10:22 am on Mar 31, 2011 (gmt 0)
You go there of your own volition and it's FREE, they don't charge you to use it, they don't even shove it in your face!
The problem is not that they provide "free" service. The problem is that they are using their dominance in search to promote other products and services and so destroying (better) competitors. Or preventing access to their services by competitors.
This is not a problem when you are John Small and are running several websites. If you however dominate 95% of a market this is called abuse of a dominant market position. Monopolies in former times used their market position to undercut prices and then when the competition was destroyed they would raise their prices. Today things are different. Take the navigation market for example. Google is destroying competitors by offering free Google maps navigation. However they won't charge you with money. You pay with information about yourself and the information about you and your whereabouts is then sold to the highest bidder. And then - even if you are willing to pay for services in order to protect your privacy you won't be able to. Because no competiors exist.
The pattern is the same only the currency has changed. The new currency is your personal data.