Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Neutrality? Google's Dirty Little Secret

"The company that controls our information controls what we know -- and think."

Google, the self-described "information company," has a dirty little secret.

It doesn't practice search neutrality -- doesn't play fair -- when it provides links to companies, candidates, and issues. In fact, it recently put one small company -- a mini-competitor -- out of business by refusing to provide links.

In search, Google dominates 80% of the market, and it clearly wants 100%. If Google weren't in Obama's hip pocket, that might not so horrifying.

Think Google's failure to practice search neutrality -- basic fairness -- couldn't swing a presidential election? Well, think again.

We need to stop this situation with our public clamor, including blog posts. If that doesn't work, we have some conservative friends in Congress we can appeal to.

Please -- today, if possible, or tomorrow -- blog about the importance of search neutrality. If you don't have time (who does these days?), please provide on your blog or web site a link to my piece on search neturality. Again, if you post on this, and I hope you will, please send me a link.

Also, in your posts, please link to the fine article on search neturality from RedState.com [below]. If you don't have a blog yet, well, today's a good day to start one. If you start a blog, please tell me about it so I can tell others.

RedState.com piece on search neutrality:

Don't Be Evil*" redhk's Diary "Don't Be Evil*" Friday, March 5th at 1:55PM EST

Google's corporate motto suggests an almost altruistic mission. However, the reality is much different from the brand's manicured image.

Recently here at RedState, ericathunderpaws wrote an open letter to Google outlining its censorship of search results critical of Islam, statist politics and the Chinese government. But this week, the New York Times brought to light the fact that Google doesn't only use it's overwhelming power to censor speech-apparently Google has now deemed itself worthy of deciding which small businesses thrive or fail.

After a 30-year career in the law, Dominique Barella left his job as president of the main union for French judges in 2006 and started a Web site, Ejustice.fr, that lets users search for legal resources in France.…[W]ithin a few months, it was attracting up to 20,000 visitors a day and selling a modest amount of advertising.That, Mr. Barella says, is when the trouble with Google began.

Overnight, traffic plunged - because, Mr. Barella says, the company stopped indexing pages from Ejustice.fr for inclusion in Google's search engine.

If Google can effectively shut down a small business, which, arguably, isn't even in competition with Google, what restraint DOES the company have?

In the late '90s, the Department of Justice took Microsoft to court over the bundling of their Internet Explorer browser with the Windows OS. At the time, the company had about 85% of the OS market share and, Justice charged, it used that power to shut out competitors. Today, Google's market share of search engine queries hovers around 80%.

Surely Google's programming of their search algorithm to censor political speech and strong-arm small businesses throughout the world deserves a government inquiry. And if it is found that the world's most-used search provider is employing a command-and-control strategy for the Internet, it must answer for its actions.

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