Reno - 10:10 pm on Jul 7, 2010 (gmt 0)
Using analogies such as yellow pages or consumer products won't work because the process of making law takes time and the rise of Google (and SE's in general) is such a new phenomenon there is nothing much to base it on. Add to that the fact -- and it is fact -- that most legislators & judges are technologically challenged, so they simply aren't able to grasp the fundamental principles of the situation, and there is no precedence they can point to which will help them see more clearly. Mostly it's the younger members of their staffs that have to explain it to them, and they're not using search the way we do.
Is search so central to commerce that it needs to have some sort of regulations in place? Is a company that controls 75% of those searches getting close to a monopoly? Can that company do whatever they d@mn well please because it's "their business"?
These are questions that will eventually have to be addressed, but as I said, I do not expect any resolutions until the current generation of "leaders" is replaced by those who grew up using search and thus have a better understanding of its considerable powers. We may be years away from that day, and by then, Google may be AltaVista, or they may be the Federal Reserve. If their power only increases, then I look for more calls for legislation, however if they end up like AV or Excite, then the market will have taken care of itself, which is in all likelihood the best outcome in these sort of cases. We can only hope for the latter -- the idea of clueless legislation is not comforting.