Search and mobile phone monopolist Google must be thankful it’s Friday. The company, already having a bad week due to the EU announcing its intent to prosecute the giant over abuse of dominant position in search, suffered another two blows before the week was through.
The Googley Googlers were greated not only by their private VIP buses this morning, but also by the French government looking for details on its magic search algorithm.
Specifically the upper house of parliament yesterday voted to support an addition to a draft economy bill that would require search engines to display at least three competitors on their homepage.
But it gets worse: they are also asking any search company to reveal the workings of their search ranking algorithms to ensure they deliver fair and non-discriminatory results. Given that Google has an approximately 90% share of the search market in France these amendments, although not naming any companies, are aimed squarely at Google.
But that wasn’t all that went wrong for Google today!
Senior VP for Search, Amit Singhal, attempted to argue that although Google is the most-used search engine, it is not abusing its dominant position. He then provided a number of pretty graphs that he claimed show competition was actually increasing.
One of those claims was that “when it comes to news, users often go directly to their favourite sites. For example Bild and The Guardian get up to 85 per cent of their traffic directly. Less than 10 per cent comes from Google.”
To which The Guardian’s audience editor, Chris Moran, tweeted: “Just to be absolutely clear … this is nonsense.”
Upon further review of his data, Singhal retracted his earlier claim (along with a similar claim about Yelp) because he had ‘forgotten’ to include Theguardian.com, the site’s main domain name, along with theguadian.co.uk (its secondary, UK specific domain).
Google no doubt heads into the weekend with a good deal on its mind, along with being thankful the week has come to a close.