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Google to Face Senate Antitrust Panel This Week

     
3:28 pm on Sep 19, 2011 (gmt 0)

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Google to Face Senate Antitrust Panel This Week [nytimes.com]
Google's slogan may be don't be evil, but a growing chorus of antitrust regulators in the United States and Europe want to know if the company has lived up to that creed.

This week, those concerns — especially whether Google gives its own businesses preferred placement in search results, thwarting competition and harming consumers — will have their most public airing to date, when Google's chairman, Eric E. Schmidt, testifies before a Senate antitrust panel. Some of Google's competitors will also testify.

“Google is a great American success story, but its size, position and power in the marketplace have raised concerns about its business practices, and raised the question of what responsibilities come with that power,” said Senator Richard Blumenthal, Democrat of Connecticut, who is a member of the antitrust subcommittee and who as the attorney general of Connecticut played a leading role among the states that sued Microsoft.

9:55 pm on Sept 20, 2011 (gmt 0)

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Scroll?.... they've even disabled natural page scroll. Try scrolling the serp pages using your keyboard arrow keys and see what i mean.... natural scroll has been replaced by a little pointer jumping from one result to the next, starting at result 1

WOW! PLEASE everyone try this! Search for a keyword of lots of ads (finance terms for example) and then use the arrow. It goes from listing to listing and to the ads on the right and then organic serps--one by one. That's really pushing it IMO. I can imaging laptop owners having to escape by clicking on an ad, instead of wasting a minute and dozens of button presses to go down--one by one.

This could explain clicks going down for us and the huge increase of Google's earnings. How much lower have they gone and we don't know yet?
10:30 pm on Sept 20, 2011 (gmt 0)

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Tried it, "top finance term" not happening from here ..France ( page scrolls as normal )..but I'm set for US results..

Maybe yet another test of the water with only a few ( or only USA ) seeing it ?
10:31 pm on Sept 20, 2011 (gmt 0)

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This could explain clicks going down for us and the huge increase of Google's earnings. How much lower have they gone and we don't know yet?


I'm quite surprised this issue wasn't mentioned here before...it appeared about 2-3 months ago and its on ever since. The serps are an absolute circus nowadays....

Google has become a sweaty money hungry mess and it SHOWS...
10:44 pm on Sept 20, 2011 (gmt 0)

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Tried it, "top finance term" not happening from here ..France ( page scrolls as normal )..but I'm set for US results..

Maybe yet another test of the water with only a few ( or only USA ) seeing it ?


I'm in Australia. It is fully on here. I tried disabling the toolbar and did a search directly at google.com ... still fully on. Bustards!
10:59 pm on Sept 20, 2011 (gmt 0)

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Still can't get it to happen even on Google.fr using "assurance" ( "insurance" translated ) loads of ads..

But G's geo sniffing has me down to 1km ( I use similar on my sites too )..I do get two "blue paint marks" in the left of side of the G homepage though, which on "mouse over" tell me in French that G+ is "open to every one now" ..on the English ( USA ) pages it is written below the search box as a "clear link"..and no "blue paint marks"..

I'm not "signed in" for any searches...

for info..because apparently not all of us get these things rolled out at the same time..
11:07 pm on Sept 20, 2011 (gmt 0)

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I'm not "signed in" for any searches...


Me too, signed off, toolbar disabled, cookies deleted, flash cookies deleted, ip address refreshed, browser restarted (ie8), .... still happening.

This one will prove a huge money spinner for them once fully implemented world wide. I have no doubt it already does....all comes from our pockets and traffic. Yet another BIG nail in the coffin of millions of web businesses...
12:49 am on Sept 21, 2011 (gmt 0)

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I'm in Canada, and I have normal action from my down-arrows on every search I tried.
1:06 am on Sept 21, 2011 (gmt 0)

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I'm in Canada, and I have normal action from my down-arrows on every search I tried.

Thanks for posting your location. In USA I definitely have it, it's a tiny blue arrow that moves to each listing (ad or not.)

As of right now Yahoo and Bing do not have it.
8:19 am on Sept 21, 2011 (gmt 0)

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Speed im not seeing the scroll thing.

I just searched credit cards though - and 4 ads are showing at the top - the topmost one is a comparison ad.

An ad with a compare function built into it.

webspeed - let me know how to help - I want google bringing down.
10:51 am on Sept 21, 2011 (gmt 0)

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Try doing a search then hitting 'enter'. The first ad loads. I wonder how many people do that by accident, costing the top advertiser heavily?

Do a search, keep your finger on the arrow key and it settles on the last ad. Moral: make sure you bid the least.

This will rebound on The Evil Empire.
8:29 pm on Sept 21, 2011 (gmt 0)

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Great viewing .. Google 0, committee 5, competitors 10
8:58 pm on Sept 21, 2011 (gmt 0)

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[google.com...]
Google exec rejects charge search results 'cooked'

By Chris Lefkow (AFP) – 23 minutes ago

WASHINGTON — Google executive chairman Eric Schmidt rejected charges Wednesday that the Internet giant "cooks" search results to favor its own services as he came in for tough questioning from a Senate panel.

...
During an hour-and-a-half of testimony, Schmidt repeatedly stressed that Google's search algorithms are designed to return the best results for users and are not rigged to give preference to its own products or services.

Republican Senator Mike Lee of Utah was not convinced and pointed to a study of product search results in which he said Google Product Search displayed an "uncanny" ability to repeatedly show up third in the rankings.

"You've cooked it so that you're always third," Lee said.

"May I simply say that I can assure you we have not cooked anything," Schmidt replied.
Can't wait for the chefs at Google to do another video for the Food Channel. Open the algo to an independent party, let's see what sauce you used for Panda!
9:03 pm on Sept 21, 2011 (gmt 0)

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I can see Google being broken up - Android - Places -Search - Shopping. Bit like the mini-Bells. anyone know how to make representations to the Committee
9:16 pm on Sept 21, 2011 (gmt 0)

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"We have not cooked anything"

Remember "I am not a crook"?
9:40 pm on Sept 21, 2011 (gmt 0)

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During an hour-and-a-half of testimony, Schmidt repeatedly stressed that Google's search algorithms are designed to return the best results for users


It's pretty clear that Schmidt didn't use Google since Panda. Does he really want us to believe that all that crap is the "best results"?
10:11 pm on Sept 21, 2011 (gmt 0)

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Schmidt repeatedly stressed that Google's search algorithms are designed to return the best results for users
That has been shown and proven that it is a blatant lie. The placement of junk Local, Images, Youtube etc clearly shows that, especially since they're all Google owned. Not even a local link from say, Yelp? All the seven best ones are from G Local?

The one missing question:
Does Google take $$ in consideration (during testing) when deciding on releasing the new algo /refinement or not?

That's the $40 Billion question and I hope FTC gets to the bottom of this. I am almost sure I know the answer, but we need a definitive one. We need to put pressure so we learn this, it directly effects every single webmaster, just as G stuff placements, almost hidden (as ads) Adwords ads etc.
5:43 am on Sept 22, 2011 (gmt 0)

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Like I mentioned before, the public is on Google's side. People here should read and post their comments to TechCrunch. No disrespect to WebmasterWorld but the people we need to educate about Google are not here, they are on all those other sites that think Google is being attacked by competitors who can't compete and politicians without a clue. I watched part of the hearing today, and it was insightful. But the reaction on TechCrunch are it sound that Google was the victim and not regular webmasters like us. Our voices as webmasters need to be heard outside of this site where people have other concerns and think that Google is this flamboyant Apple-like company. Not the one we webmaster have built on users' behalf for a decade.
8:49 pm on Sept 22, 2011 (gmt 0)

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The UK is over 90% google at present.

On BBC News last night, in the UK, the ticker-tape included something along the lines of "google denies wrong-doing."

We're a pretty lazy bunch in the UK, but we do, I think, ask questions such as "Why do they have to deny it if they've done nothing wrong?"

It will be interesting to follow usage stats for a while. :)
8:57 pm on Sept 22, 2011 (gmt 0)

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I'm in the US, and I'm TOTALLY seeing the blue arrows when I try to scroll with my keyboard arrows. That is soooo tricky!

It seems to me the human raters manually demoting websites is proof enough that Google "cooks" the results - they certainly don't just let the algo do its thing. And that's the big problem - that, and the fact that the algo and/or the raters take into account things users never would, such as paid text links. Which Google takes into account (supposedly) to protect the algo. Take Google at their word and assume the best possible intentions, and you STILL have human raters tampering with the algo's results. Which part of that isn't cooking?

US law recognizes that if you do great things, you might become overly dominant in your field, and that's okay. It's what you DO with that dominance that can break monopoly laws. Google's used their dominance to blackmail companies [searchengineland.com...] into helping Google profit AND maybe run them out of business:

The most effective testimony against Google came, however, from Yelp CEO Jeremy Stoppelman. He described a timeline of events in which Google and Yelp were partners. But after that ended, Google later began including Yelp reviews in Places (a competitive product) without permission. Yelp said that the company asked that those reviews be removed, which Google declined to do without removing Yelp from the index entirely. It was only after the FTC investigation was announced, said Yelp, that Google complied.


I mean, forget what we feel Google has put us through. This example is absolutely ridiculous.

I don't know if the government will have a solution. Maybe the algo should just be made open source already so that we can game Google as hard as they can game us - there's a level playing field. Maybe search should be split off and monitored to make sure no one's greasing their palms. I don't know how much any of these solutions will help any of us, but unless all these people are lying to Congress, there's no question Google's in violation of American laws - and if the government doesn't step in, it'll be because Google makes voluntary changes. Either way, there's some hope.

A 60+ friend of mine the other day - who mainly owns a computer to check her emails and shop on Amazon - mentioned to me that Google results were terrible lately and she'd switched to Bing. I have to say, Bing has suddenly gotten very awesome in lots of ways - to me as a consumer. Their Maps has added landmarks to your route. They have a sort of twitter feed on the lower right side of the search results on hot news stories, so blogs with up-to-date reporting are available.

I think MSN's timing on all this is hilariously awesome. Google's made a wreck of its results with Panda, Bing has made itself a very viable competitor, and now all the ducks seem to be in a row for some big changes, forced or otherwise.
9:03 pm on Sept 22, 2011 (gmt 0)

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Follow the money and open the algo:
[siliconvalleywatcher.com...]
Lots of losers due to "bad quality" of content. But one massive winner: Google.

Since Google launched Panda it has beaten Wall Street estimates twice. It's revenues have surged tremendously, yet for much of the past year and more, Google's revenues to its own sites (AdWords) barely could keep pace with revenue to its partner sites (AdSense).

Here's an example for 2010 revenues:

- In Q1 Google sites grew 20% and partner sites grew 24%.
- In Q2 Google sites grew 23% and partner sites grew 23%.
- In Q3 Google sites grew 22% and partner sites grew 22%.
- In Q4 Google sites grew 22% and partner sites grew 24%.

At no point did Google manage to exceed growth in revenues from its partner sites.

Yet suddenly in 2011, under new CEO Larry Page, everything changed:

In Q1 Google sites grew 32% and partner sites grew 19%.

In Q2 Google sites grew 39% and partner sites grew 20%.

Yet for the past year and more, Google couldn't keep up with partner sites and all of a sudden it is surging ahead.

What caused this sudden reversal in fortunes? It looks like it's due to Panda.

Google is taking away traffic from its partner sites and that means it doesn't have to split the revenues, about 68%, with partners -- it keeps all the money.

No wonder the Google cooks keep saying "user satisfaction" is up.
10:45 pm on Sept 22, 2011 (gmt 0)

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Doesn't matter how many times we cry foul or liar liar pants on fire. WebmasterWorld is not the place to do that. Everyone here knows the deal. The place to complain is on sites like TechCrunch and Engadget and on social networks like Twitter and Facebook where people still think Google does no evil. No matter how many times we complain about Google here, we are not getting our message out to the public at large.
2:07 am on Sept 23, 2011 (gmt 0)

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Not even TechCrunch is good enough to get the "word" out. Until the MSM gets on it... or the Googlies in the WH (that's White House) are outed for their service, it's a non-starter. FCC is after something different.
4:12 am on Sept 23, 2011 (gmt 0)

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Walkman thanks for posting that. To me, that info should be stickied or whatever. The facts don't lie. They are what they are. Forget conspiracty theories. It's as plain as day. Of course I'm basing my comments on the validity of those numbers. Brilliant post. I do hope that can get posted elsewhere so people who believe in fixing and Google SEO, etc can be realistic what they are up against.

Sure, Google arms work separately. It just so happens that for them, they found the magic algo tweak. If this isn't relevant to the current hearings, then those government officials are clueless.

Anyways, thank you so much for posting that. I've been waiting months to read something that confirmed what I've felt the whole time.
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