It is a shame that all those finance comparison sites are feeling the heat, especially as they have been playing by the rules for so long and providing such an essential service?
Yes, like a lot of people I have made money off the back of google but I take the message loud and clear - provide something of value or go and take a hike.
Serously though; this is one very dangerous company which threaterns the livelihood of all of us. They will keep pushing that 'scary line' until forced to stop, they certainly won't do it voluntarily.
Do No Evil (05-11-11)
It's quite concerning that even in this forum where most fully understand the concepts at hand, there are many people trying to justify that Google has free reign to do whatever it pleases because it is a business ("monopoly" is more accurate). Whether a business has free reign or not, the point is: it shouldn't... and it should be regulated. You can apply this to any field - Monsato to herbicides, Microsoft to Software, UK supermarket cartels, etc.
Do not trust Google! "Trust? Yes. But verify." - Reagan
("monopoly" is more accurate). - it is only a monopoly because most people CHOOSE to use it - not because there aren't any alternatives, or that alternatives are hard to find - how can it be regulated to ensure that it shows a certain type of site or information?
Google Credit Card comparison isn't the most used comparison service because it's the best (it's ugly as sin and doesn't work half the time), it's because it's the number 1 result on Google as they stuck it there, above all others. That is anti-competitive when you have an 85% share of the search engine market.
"how can it be regulated to ensure that it shows a certain type of site or information? "
They should adhere to their own rules and be transparent about it. Banning a website they just bought due to SERPS abuse is a smokescreen when at the same time they are blatantly placing their own services much higher up in SERPS in general. "Do as we say and not as we do" is the typical mantra of an MP, it shouldn't be adopted by a search engine...
On a more personal note, I cannot stand Eric Schmidt and find him really dishonest and creepy
The problem with saying that the likes of google need tighter regulation is all well and good but what if they turn around and ask who's regulating you - how well do you stand up to scrutiny?
FWIW, if Microsoft's Bing service was as omnipotent/present as Google search then I and others would be making the same arguments, I'm sure. Microsoft have already had their fair share of (deserved) antitrust cases. By the way, your example is unfortunate given that Schmidt was on the Apple board for a long time whilst being Google CEO. Collusion and vested interest?! Hell no.
The crux of it all is, in my opinion, Google need to operate their search engine segment at arm's length. When they start promoting their services-within-a-service and cross-linking them all (eg promoted Youtube videos within SERPS when Vimeo appears on the 50th page), that is when the alarm bells should be ringing out. I could list hundreds of similar examples.
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