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Congressman Warns FTC: Leave Google Alone

timothy posted about 2 years ago | from the there-is-only-one-ftc dept.

Google 303

concealment writes with this selection from Ars Technica: "A Democratic congressman who played a leading role in the fight against the Stop Online Piracy Act earlier this year has taken up a new cause: shielding Google from antitrust scrutiny. In a strongly worded letter to Federal Trade Commission chairman Jon Leibowitz, Rep. Jared Polis (D-CO) praised Google's contribution to the nation's economy. He warned Leibowitz that if the FTC does choose to initiate an antitrust case against Google, Congress might react by curtailing its regulatory authority."

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Leave Google Alone! (5, Funny)

PieMokz (2751997) | about 2 years ago | (#41668491)

How fucking dare anyone make fun of Google after all shes been trough thru. All you people care about readers and making money out of her. She's a human!

Re:Leave Google Alone! (5, Insightful)

Kuroji (990107) | about 2 years ago | (#41668543)

You are one hundred percent right. Google is a corporation, and corporations are people, my friend.

Re:Leave Google Alone! (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41668631)

I don't know, but why always a congressman sticks his nose in something it starts smelling fishy. Is there any other political force putting its influence to make FTC to investigate Google? Hollywood?

Re:Leave Google Alone! (5, Informative)

crazyjj (2598719) | about 2 years ago | (#41668795)

I don't know, but why always a congressman sticks his nose in something it starts smelling fishy.

Maybe because Congressmen rarely do anything when they don't have a direct vested interest [coloradodaily.com] in the corporation involved.

Re:Leave Google Alone! (2, Insightful)

DJRumpy (1345787) | about 2 years ago | (#41668969)

Kind of stupid to say that they shouldn't be investigated just based off the 'boost' they give the economy. I'm sure MS gave a huge boost to silicon valley, but that doesn't mean what they were doing was right or that it should insulate them from any investigations.

If Google is innocent, then no harm no foul.

Re:Leave Google Alone! (2)

timeOday (582209) | about 2 years ago | (#41669163)

It's the serf mentality: if we no longer had a king, who would allow us to farm his land?

Re:Leave Google Alone! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41669199)

I'm guessing that if the king is dead, the serf's wouldn't waste time asking that question...

Re:Leave Google Alone! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41669263)

I'm guessing that if the king is dead, the serf's wouldn't waste time asking that question...

The king is dead. Long live the king!

Re:Leave Google Alone! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41668769)

Then for the good of us all, Google needs to be murdered.

Re:Leave Google Alone! (2)

Digital Vomit (891734) | about 2 years ago | (#41669081)

If corporations are people, how is it legal for one corporation (i.e. person) to own another? I thought the US outlawed the owning of people as property?

Re:Leave Google Alone! (0, Troll)

binarylarry (1338699) | about 2 years ago | (#41668685)

The parent poster is the visual studio troll asshole.

(Just saying)

Re:Leave Google Alone! (-1, Flamebait)

binarylarry (1338699) | about 2 years ago | (#41668831)

I swear Slashdot gives mod points to dumbest fucking people.

Re:Leave Google Alone! (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41668853)

Well, you're an idiot.

Re:Leave Google Alone! (2)

Kuroji (990107) | about 2 years ago | (#41668879)

Second.

Re:Leave Google Alone! (0, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41668947)

binarylarry is a fag with a small penis. He also has some insecurity about his nerd score based off his comment below where he expresses dissatisfaction that he was rightfully modded as a troll. What a sad world he lives in.

ATTN: Jared Polis (5, Funny)

binarylarry (1338699) | about 2 years ago | (#41668513)

My Good Friend Jared,

It would be a shame if your constituents found out about all this hentai porn you've downloaded from the Internet.

Perhaps you should send my friends at the FTC a letter explaining how their current views of Google are untenable.

*Strokes white cat*

Dearest Regards,
Dr. Larry Page

Re:ATTN: Jared Polis (0, Offtopic)

causality (777677) | about 2 years ago | (#41668587)

My Good Friend Jared,

It would be a shame if your constituents found out about all this hentai porn you've downloaded from the Internet.

Perhaps you should send my friends at the FTC a letter explaining how their current views of Google are untenable.

*Strokes white cat*

Dearest Regards, Dr. Larry Page

It reminds me of the book Atlas Shrugged, in the beginning, where the railroads had to hire a "Washington Man" to protect themselves from the legislature. It also mentions that such people are a reluctant necessity and tend not to be particularly upstanding or trustworthy.

Even if your joke has no basis in reality at all, some things don't change.

Re:ATTN: Jared Polis (4, Insightful)

Ziggitz (2637281) | about 2 years ago | (#41668637)

I wish Liberterarians would get some real friends so they'd stop posting their drivel on the internet for attention. You guys should arrange a meetup or something, get it all out of your system and stop shoehorning your idiotic philosophy into every single god damn slashdot submission.

Re:ATTN: Jared Polis (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41668745)

While I completely agree with your sentiment, intelligent people need to stop feeding the libertarian trolls. They feast on our tears of frustration.

Re:ATTN: Jared Polis (1)

BeansBaxter (918704) | about 2 years ago | (#41669023)

Coward.

Re:ATTN: Jared Polis (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41669247)

Intelligent people need to stop feeding the libertarian trolls.

I don't think that's been a problem for the intelligent.

Re:ATTN: Jared Polis (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41669033)

How about in an underwater city serving sea-slug Hors d'uvres?

What could possibly go wrong?

Re:ATTN: Jared Polis (0)

causality (777677) | about 2 years ago | (#41669257)

I wish Liberterarians would get some real friends so they'd stop posting their drivel on the internet for attention. You guys should arrange a meetup or something, get it all out of your system and stop shoehorning your idiotic philosophy into every single god damn slashdot submission.

I wish I could mention a simple fictional book without people freaking out about it and assuming they know who I am and what I believe and then proceeding to rail against whatever they just made up about me.

Honestly, perhaps you could consult a psychologist and ask about "systematic desensitization therapy"?

Re:ATTN: Jared Polis (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41668731)

Never mind that Ayn Rand got it backwards. They hire men in Washington to get what they want, with railroads, highways, and everything else, and damn the public.

Re:ATTN: Jared Polis (1)

bhartman34 (886109) | about 2 years ago | (#41669057)

She didn't exactly get it backwards.

Lobbyists work all sides of any big issue. There might be one industry in favor of a piece of legislation, and another opposed. Just because a piece of legislation is "pro-business" in one sense, doesn't mean it benefits all businesses, let alone all businesses equally.

IOW, while it's true that companies hire lobbyists offensively to craft legislation, other lobbyists are hired to protect against the initial lobbyists.

Re:ATTN: Jared Polis (5, Insightful)

NatasRevol (731260) | about 2 years ago | (#41669139)

Not all sides.

Lobbyists only work on the money sides.

Re:ATTN: Jared Polis (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41668797)

My Good Friend Jared,

It would be a shame if your constituents found out about all this hentai porn you've downloaded from the Internet.

Perhaps you should send my friends at the FTC a letter explaining how their current views of Google are untenable.

*Strokes white cat*

Dearest Regards,
Dr. Larry Page

It reminds me of the book Atlas Shrugged, in the beginning, where the railroads had to hire a "Washington Man" to protect themselves from the legislature. It also mentions that such people are a reluctant necessity and tend not to be particularly upstanding or trustworthy.

Even if your joke has no basis in reality at all, some things don't change.

You're right that it has no basis in reality. The joke is probably made up too.

Re:ATTN: Jared Polis (2)

binarylarry (1338699) | about 2 years ago | (#41668815)

No, I actually hacked Larry Page's gmail account and found this in there.

SRSLY

Re:ATTN: Jared Polis (1)

alen (225700) | about 2 years ago | (#41668861)

except in real life the only reason the railroads ever got built was because the government gave them low interest loans and free land. if these guys actually had to buy land and pay market rates for money like good capitalists have to they would never have built anything

Re:ATTN: Jared Polis (1)

RazorSharp (1418697) | about 2 years ago | (#41668887)

Wesley Mouch. No one liked Wesley Mouch. But it was Rearden Metal, not the railroads, that hired him. Jim Taggart and his railroad were already chummy with Washington in the beginning of the book. Rearden hired Mouch to deal with Washington so he didn't have to, which was one of his first fatal errors b/c Mouch just used his lobbyist position to enrich himself and get himself a powerful government job rather than actually lobby for the interests of Rearden Metal.

Anyway, it isn't really analogous to the topic at hand except in the vaguest sense: It deals with the relationship between the government and a corporation. If Google's lobbyists had anything to do with it then they were doing the exact opposite as what Mouch did, which is, their job.

Personally, I think it's wrong to try and assume the motives of this congressman. He may just be aware that much of the Google anti-trust heat comes from pressure applied to his fellow congresscritters and the FTC by competing lobbyists (mainly Microsoft's). Maybe I've just drank a little too much Kool-Aid, but to me Google seems extremely responsible for the amount of power they've obtained and I don't believe they're engaging in any anti-competitive behavior. I also call shenanigans whenever MS accuses another company of anti-trust violations.

Re:ATTN: Jared Polis (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41669179)

Jim Taggart and his railroad were already chummy with Washington in the beginning of the book

Yeah, this point was conveniently overlooked. They've already been given tax breaks, handouts, protections, etc from the gov't. But the did it 'all on their own' and not at all at the cost of others.

Re:ATTN: Jared Polis (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41669115)

Couldn't care less if he dl's hentai porn. He tried to push SOPA and now threatens to neuter regulatory authority if it affects his shares in Google. Vote this worse than useless scumbag out.

The First rule of Google.... (2)

Lumpy (12016) | about 2 years ago | (#41668517)

You do not want to anger the Google... Poking it with a stick will cause bad things to happen.

Re:The First rule of Google.... (1)

sycodon (149926) | about 2 years ago | (#41668857)

"You do not want to anger your contributors... Poking them with a stick will cause your campaign war chest to diminish."

Fixed...or rephrased...or...hell, just changed to make a snarky point.

Re:The First rule of Google.... (1)

cdrudge (68377) | about 2 years ago | (#41669261)

Poking them with a stick will cause your campaign war chest to diminish.

Unless you are Obama or Ron Paul, Google hasn't contributed anything significant to any politician directly (not counting lobbying expenditures). <$20k isn't exactly much of a war chest.

The congressman stuck his head out. (4, Insightful)

lcam (848192) | about 2 years ago | (#41668523)

And now it's going to get hammered.

The FTC will double their resolve, they get to help Apple while defying congress.

What could be better.

Good job Google! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41668555)

Money well spent. Your investment is paying off. (As Sergei gives a nice pat to the Congresswoman lounging in his pocket)

Yes, leave them alone! (0, Redundant)

korgitser (1809018) | about 2 years ago | (#41668569)

And while you're at it, also leave Britney alone! Look at all she's been through!

Hmmm (1)

MightyMartian (840721) | about 2 years ago | (#41668575)

I see Google has finally figured out how Washington works. The whole thing reminds me of the Senate hearings scenes from The Godfather Part 2.

Re:Hmmm (1)

geekoid (135745) | about 2 years ago | (#41669235)

With some guy in Colorado?

In other words... (1)

Errol backfiring (1280012) | about 2 years ago | (#41668591)

Google can use politicians to avoid obvious outcome. This only makes such an investigation more urgent.

Re:In other words... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41668965)

Google can use politicians to avoid obvious outcome. This only makes such an investigation more urgent.

There are no laws which make a monopoly illegal. What has to be proven is that they are using their dominance to unfairly block competition from entering the market or being able to compete.

So, in light of that, exactly what has Google done to prevent the competition from entering the marketplace? The answer is "nothing obvious". Which then raises the question of why should they be investigated, seeing as how nobody is complaining that Google is acting unfairly or otherwise preventing competition?

Re:In other words... (1, Troll)

PieMokz (2751997) | about 2 years ago | (#41669285)

One of the biggest points raised in Europe is how Google demands advertisers to not to use same adverts in competing ad platforms, therefore unfairly preventing competition to enter marketplace (creating adverts cost lots of money sometimes).

Re:In other words... (1)

NatasRevol (731260) | about 2 years ago | (#41669349)

So sorry I have to do the leg work for you.

The FTC began investigating Google for antitrust violations in mid-2011. The agency reportedly focused on Google's relationship with Android handset makers and whether Google favors its own services in search results.

Competitors of Google, including Microsoft and other members of advocacy group FairSearch.org, have complained that Google is using its search dominance to drive its customers to other Google services.

http://www.computerworld.com/s/article/9232368/US_lawmaker_questions_FTC_Google_antitrust_probe [computerworld.com]

Any reviews of results on FTC? Didn't think so. (2)

Impy the Impiuos Imp (442658) | about 2 years ago | (#41668609)

"Well, we can't say if it's illegal until we review the results later."

This is the exact same kind of thing they do in corrupt nations where the government has all kinds of laws you can't help but violate if you want to survive, which then get held over your head for "donations", or if you get too uppity.

Congress can't conjur into existence magic to put Humpty together again, but they can beat the hell out of anybody with the temerity to try.

Crony capitalism at its best (1)

alexo (9335) | about 2 years ago | (#41668613)

Nothing ever changes.

Re:Crony capitalism at its best (1)

Intrepid imaginaut (1970940) | about 2 years ago | (#41668875)

I'd say the whole open source movement is evidence to the contrary. Google is a marketing company which has somehow managed to convince a strongly anti-marketing parish (techies) to support it. I don't expect any particular moral or civil rectitude from them however, and I don't know why anyone would, except to the extent that they are keeping an eye on whatever filters through the public relations lens.

Timing (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41668621)

The timing is rather suspicious given Google's stance against what are arguably some of the largest lobbying groups in the world. It would be a shame to find out that the FCC is just another cog in the *AA's war machine.

Re:Timing (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41669039)

Wow, what an idiot. Google was only against SOPA because it didn't benefit them. They are fully in support of OPEN.

Re:Timing (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41669143)

Wow, what an idiot. OPEN has never enjoyed wide acceptance by the MPAA or the RIAA that SOPA did, which was the crux of the argument. Lrn2read, you corksocking arsehole.

General Consensus: "Uh boy... here we go..." (1)

erroneus (253617) | about 2 years ago | (#41668629)

Regardless of your position (that is, what team you may be rooting for) I think generally speaking, we're all responding with the same sigh of dread.

Re:General Consensus: "Uh boy... here we go..." (2)

erroneus (253617) | about 2 years ago | (#41668647)

Ooops... sent before I was done.

Seems like when government defends business, it invariably means the government is defending its own interests in some way. What is Google serving up to government?

Re:General Consensus: "Uh boy... here we go..." (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41668749)

The government can't spy on you*, but Google can.

Re:General Consensus: "Uh boy... here we go..." (1)

Kuroji (990107) | about 2 years ago | (#41668901)

Did you miss the part where the NSA has monitoring equipment on every major backbone in the United States?

You MUST be new here.

As much as I like Jared, I differ here (5, Insightful)

WindBourne (631190) | about 2 years ago | (#41668675)

If there is real proof that Google has a monopoly (i.e. they control the market) and that they have acted illegally by manipulating results wrongly or have forced tied products to their search engine, they SHOULD be investigated. The real issue here is that Google has a LARGE share, but does not have a monopoly. In addition, does anybody have any real proof that Google has manipulated results or forced other products to be tied to their search engine?

Good examples are ATT, IBM and MS. Is there any proof that Google has acted like these companies did? I have not seen it.

Re:As much as I like Jared, I differ here (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41668827)

The point is, the only ones claiming monopolies on search are Google's competitors, who casually happen to also run search engines.

The reality is a search engine is just a link to a destination, so unless you are preventing use of other search engines (which is basically impossible) then it's impossible to actually exert monopoly influence on search.

Re:As much as I like Jared, I differ here (1)

jareth-0205 (525594) | about 2 years ago | (#41669097)

The point is, the only ones claiming monopolies on search are Google's competitors, who casually happen to also run search engines.

The reality is a search engine is just a link to a destination, so unless you are preventing use of other search engines (which is basically impossible) then it's impossible to actually exert monopoly influence on search.

Why would you go through the hassle of making a complain unless you had some interest in it? It's pretty normal that the person making a complaint feels they're being wronged somehow, as oppose to some random guy.

Re:As much as I like Jared, I differ here (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41668855)

<cough>Skyhook</cough>

Re:As much as I like Jared, I differ here (4, Insightful)

WindBourne (631190) | about 2 years ago | (#41669209)

Skyhook, or even MS, are free to take Android and create their OWN version of it. What Google is doing is saying that we sell a package that includes our services with a set interface. There is NOTHING like MS who had closed source and actively changed it to make it impossible to switch off them without loads of pain for the seller AND customers.

Re:As much as I like Jared, I differ here (-1, Troll)

sokoban (142301) | about 2 years ago | (#41668869)

does anybody have any real proof that Google has manipulated results or forced other products to be tied to their search engine?

Well, the situation with the iOS mapping is somewhere between shady and "being evil".

http://www.technobuffalo.com/companies/apple/why-did-apple-ditch-google-maps-in-ios-6-a-disagreement-over-voice-guided-directions-apparently/ [technobuffalo.com]

Re:As much as I like Jared, I differ here (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41669019)

Really? Its shady to not provide levels of service that were not put in a contract? Well shit.. then, everybody on the planet is fucking shady. Including you.

Re:As much as I like Jared, I differ here (1)

Dog-Cow (21281) | about 2 years ago | (#41669087)

Um, no. That's business. Google has something Apple wanted. Apple didn't want to pay Google's price. That's neither evil nor shady.

Really, man, gain some perspective!

Re:As much as I like Jared, I differ here (2)

cdrudge (68377) | about 2 years ago | (#41669129)

So not licensing something to a competitor is somewhere between shady and "being evil"? It's not like Google is the only provider of maps and directions. Does Apple license iOS to it's competitors? Is there iTunes or iCloud for Android?

Re:As much as I like Jared, I differ here (1)

SDrag0n (532175) | about 2 years ago | (#41669133)

Apple keeps suing everyone around Google. I'm sure that really encourages Google to want to do anything for Apple for free.

Re:As much as I like Jared, I differ here (1)

WindBourne (631190) | about 2 years ago | (#41669231)

So, why will apple not move some of their apps or simply release the specs on say their word editor files? Apple wanted what Google has for voice control. Google said that they would do so, if apple would allow them to put other products on the apple system. Apple said no because they did not want the competition. Exactly HOW is google the bad guy here?

Re:As much as I like Jared, I differ here (1)

garcia (6573) | about 2 years ago | (#41668891)

Do I not understand how search engine choice works? To me Google is not forcing users to use their search functions like MSFT was doing by forcing PC OEMs to push out Windows, right?

If we take a look at general websites with search functionality, don't they return internal results at the top and external results at the bottom because users of a particular site are likely to be interested in content pushed out by the same site their on more than external?

Re:As much as I like Jared, I differ here (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41668893)

Last I heard, Google had about 2/3 of the market share for searches. I don't know what their market share of say online advertisements is.

A problem I noticed is that it seems a lot of computer nerds prefer to use Google, which has lead to an overestimation of what their market share is. Google now has a majority of the search market, but even back when their share was closer 20-30%, I heard people complaining of them being a monopoly. I remember asking what people thought the market share was at the time, and heard many saying 80+%, and the only nerdy friends that got in the same lower ball park were ones I knew working or in an internship at search engines. Anyway, some of that is moot now that they do have a majority, although still not 80+%.

I think it is hard to get an honest look at Google from a lot of computer nerds these days. It is not so much group think, as just people set in their ways. It is amusing that there are things you can say that get you labeled both as a Google astroturfer and as a Bing astroturfer. There are people around who still think Google can do no evil, and those that think everything they do is full of corruption. At least in my case, there is definitely things they have done or are doing that I don't like, but I never had any problems finding an alternative online and simply just didn't use their product if I didn't like something about it, or limited my use.

Re:As much as I like Jared, I differ here (1)

Xest (935314) | about 2 years ago | (#41668939)

I think the problem is that if Google has a monopoly, or has abused it, it's still small fry compared to Apple's use of it's digital music monopoly to leverage entry into the tablet and cellphone markets from the portable music player market, especially when coupled with it's in-app purchase restrictions and anti-consumer deals with the eBook market after it's entry there also, and similarly small fry compared to Oracle's purchase and subsequent abuse of Java, or Facebook's clear breach of data protection laws and dodgy IPO float.

It's not so much whether or not Google has done wrong, they probably have, but in terms of doing wrong they're far from the highest priority relative to the amount of damage they've done to the markets and consumer choice, so it does beg the question as to why the FTC is prioritising Google when there are such more blatantly abusive and problematic targets out there.

So sure I disagree with the congressman, the FTC shouldn't necessarily leave Google alone per-se, but they should leave them the fuck alone until they've dealt with the much more pressing problem companies around unless they have the resources to deal with all of them in parallel, but in that case, why aren't they? why are they targetting just, or at least prioritising Google?

honestly, I think the issue is that the FTC just targets whoever lobbys them the strongest, or pays them the most, I think all we're seeing here is Google finally biting back and playing the same game it's competitors have to push the FTC to this point by putting their own lobbyists into action to counter it.

Re:As much as I like Jared, I differ here (1)

WindBourne (631190) | about 2 years ago | (#41669289)

Good points in the start. Now, what I find interesting is that you point out Apple's massive use of a market to attempt control of an industry. Yet, the FTC is ignoring it. What strikes me is that if FTC is going after Google, they NEED to investigate Apple as well. Otherwise, it is an indication of massive corruption going on.

Personally, I say that unless FTC has proof on Google, they should let sleeping dogs lie.

Re:As much as I like Jared, I differ here (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41668955)

I refer you to the ongoing case between Google and various mapping companies in Europe...

Re:As much as I like Jared, I differ here (1)

MozeeToby (1163751) | about 2 years ago | (#41668975)

Being a monopoly is not illegal, abusing that monopoly to prevent others entering the market or to spread your influence into other markets is. Google is completely safe on the first count, a small team could start up a search engine in a matter of weeks, but I can see how there are areas of concern in the second.

Google uses it's search page to serve a wide variety of content these days and there have been accusations that they unfairly increase the rankings of their own services in the past (though I'm not sure if those accusations are valid or not). In short, they probably should be investigated because there are areas of serious concern, that does not necessarily mean I feel they've done anything wrong or deserve to be punished.

Re:As much as I like Jared, I differ here (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41669307)

How would using their search results to pimp their own services be illegal, or just wrong even if they did do it? The Xfinity web site and commercials promotes their triple play services. Other search engines promote paid for search results at the top of the list. My Verizon phone defaults to a signature of "Sent from my Verizon wireless Phone" or something like that. My recipe for Nestle chocolate chip cookies tells me to use Domino brand brown sugar and Mcormick brand vanilla extract.

In my opinion, the market would migrate away to something better if it existed. If Google starting pimping their service, giving too many ads or unrelated crap in the search results, people would go somewhere else. How hard is it to go somewhere else? Simple as typing in search engines in google. In my opinion, the market already decided and that is why people have stuck around with Google. Have you used the Yahoo search engine in a while? How about Bing? In my opinion, they are layered with ads and promotions and many unrelated things in the results and that is why people do not use them. Goolge works, it satisfys most peoples needs and they use it. Not because they HAVE to.

Re:As much as I like Jared, I differ here (5, Insightful)

StormReaver (59959) | about 2 years ago | (#41668987)

Is there any proof that Google has acted like these companies did? I have not seen it.

Nor has anyone else.

There is a witch hunt against Google because it provides a set of services that provides better value than any of its competitors. There is absolutely nothing preventing anyone else from getting into search, except the need to provide a better product. This isn't like AT&T, IBM, or Microsoft (as you rightly pointed out), where there were insurmountable barriers (ability to install competing phone lines, incompatibilities causing vendor lock-in, and [what should have been illegal] exclusivity agreements with the entire supply chain).

The only thing keeping someone from competing with Google is that people like Google. Using a competing search engine is trivially easy (you just need to go there), but Google just provides a better service.

This witch hunt is just a desperate attempt by failed competitors to get the Government to make Google less useful, because the competitors know they can't compete on their merits.

Re:As much as I like Jared, I differ here (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41669005)

Contrary to popular misconception, a monopoly (100% of a market) is not required for Anti-Trust investigation, a dominant market position (which no one can deny that Google has) makes Anti-Trust applicable to a company.

Google does tie their product together, for example, and this is a personal anecdote, Google accounts becoming tied with G+ accounts, youtube cosntantly bugging me to link my account to the G+ account I never wanted, etc. Insofar as evidence that Google is leveraging their dominant position in search to gain an advantage in other markets, run a google search, let's say for the map of [insert place here], see that giant Google Maps thing at the top before any of the actual search results? That's one of the case being made against them ,leveraging their search to boost their map app (sort of like how MS leveraged Windows to boost IE).

The evidence is there in plain sight, you're just pretending not to see it.

Different Perspective (2)

Chibi Merrow (226057) | about 2 years ago | (#41669187)

You say they're boosting their map app, I say they're giving me the results I want, as Google Maps is noticeably better than the competition.

Re:As much as I like Jared, I differ here (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41669207)

Yes Google is in many ways a monopoly. They DO control the market for many of their products.

Now the question is have they exploited this and done harm to the consumer.

If I search, and I'm looking for an address, I should use the maps option, if I'm looking for an image, I should use the images option.

As for why the Google products show up higher, they're generally good and quite often very popular. A good search algorithm SHOULD show these first.

That being said
search free email, on Bing yahoo was #5 hotmail was #6, gmail #8. On Google, hotmail was #4, yahoo #6, gmail was #9

I think the FTC should do an investigation, however unless there is clear & significant harm to the consumer, I don't think they should proceed.

Re:As much as I like Jared, I differ here (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41669147)

I agree - but I think the thing that is missing from Google having a monopoly (from an econ point of view - not sure about legal definition) is that search has a low barrier to entry. There are already lots of competitors to Google and some of them are pretty good.

As far as the FTC going after Google, I think there is a lot of resentment against Google for opposing legislation without making the requisite campaign contributions. If Google is worth so much, why aren't they buying congress like the music industry does? How dare they thwart crappy legislation through democratic means instead of using overt bribery! It just goes against the American way.

Re:As much as I like Jared, I differ here (1)

Xacid (560407) | about 2 years ago | (#41669169)

Agreed. While I think this guy's heart may be in the right place he needs to realize that his branch isnt the executive branch. However, this is an interesting application of checks and balances so if congress truly does think they're over stepping their boundaries then this may be a justified course of action.

Look at the code (3, Insightful)

ZombieBraintrust (1685608) | about 2 years ago | (#41668677)

It seems an anti trust case would be clear cut. Look at the algorithms. If the algorithms are creating a horizontal monopoly by intentionally hiding the compitition in search results then Google is guilty. If the algorithms just show the links that people click on the most then Google is innocent.

Re:Look at the code (1)

geekoid (135745) | about 2 years ago | (#41669273)

You can just look at the result to figure that out; which people have. And no, there really isn't an 'horizontal monopoly'.

Investigate Mr. Polis's stock portfolio (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41668693)

Why is he so concerned about Google, hmmmm?

Re:Investigate Mr. Polis's stock portfolio (3, Interesting)

crazyjj (2598719) | about 2 years ago | (#41668759)

It's probably completely unrelated to the fact that Google has a huge presence [coloradodaily.com] in Boulder, CO now.

Re:Investigate Mr. Polis's stock portfolio (2)

swillden (191260) | about 2 years ago | (#41669265)

It's probably completely unrelated to the fact that Google has a huge presence [coloradodaily.com] in Boulder, CO now.

As part of said presence, I'd have to disagree with the "huge" characterization (which isn't stated in the article). It's growing, but still a fairly small office. Certainly dwarfed by the nearby IBM presence, as well as that of many other large tech companies (many storage companies in particular have huge presences here). To give you an accurate idea of the size, the space mentioned in the article is an old Circuit City store, remodeled for Google's use, and it constitutes 90% of the Google office space. There's also a small building shared with a Key Bank branch and another small building shared with a local law firm.

On the scale of the large tech company campuses in the Boulder area, Google is barely noticeable. Its most notable characteristic is that it is in Boulder City proper, while most other companies have built in less expensive surrounding areas. Should Google Boulder ever grow to the point where it needs serious space it will almost certainly also move out of the city, since real estate in Boulder is crazy expensive.

Polis is probably aware of Google's presence in Boulder, but I doubt it has much to do with his position, since it's strictly small potatoes compared to other area tech companies.

(*) I should mention that Google Boulder is aggressively hiring software engineers. If you live in the area, or would like to, and have the talent Google looks for, send me an e-mail and I'll hook you up with the recruiters. Boulder's primary projects are billing/payments, Docs/Drive and electronic couponing (the Zavers acquisition), plus various other small teams.

congress can't curtail the FTC. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41668735)

if Romney wins, then Google will be immune and so will all other big businesses.

WOAH NOW!! (0, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41668781)

Did that just say a DEMOCRAT stuck up for Google? WTF? I only thought Republicans protected corporations..

I warn Congress (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41668825)

Leave FTC alone.

FTC needs to be REPLACED (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41668841)

The FTC wants to go after much loved Google that not many individuals have a problem with instead of actually doing their jobs in anything else. Only in America can you get away with deceptive advertising as long as you have some fine print hidden where nobody is looking that says "product claims not actually true". You got to take everything you hear with a grain of salt because there is no regulation at all. God bless America.

Is there precedent for this? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41668859)

Sounds like this congressman is declaring Google to be above the law.

What a worthless piece of shit of a country you americans are running.

Re:Is there precedent for this? (3, Insightful)

shentino (1139071) | about 2 years ago | (#41668915)

More like congressman is declaring FTC not to be above the law.

Google earned its keep fair and square and the FTC is probably in bed with Apple and Microsoft.

There are PLENTY worse players to go after and attacking google is blatantly selective, and the FTC knows it.

Re:Is there precedent for this? (1)

MDMurphy (208495) | about 2 years ago | (#41668981)

Funny you should ask.

Baseball is also above the law when it comes to monopolies:
http://www.beyondtheboxscore.com/2008/12/3/678134/the-history-of-baseball-s [beyondtheboxscore.com]
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Federal_Baseball_Club_v._National_League [wikipedia.org]

That's not to imply that Google is a monopoly, just that there's a precedent for excusing an organization from rules that apply to all the rest.

Re:Is there precedent for this? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41669119)

Sounds like this congressman is declaring Google to be above the law.

The law generally requires there to be some kind of proof, or at least claim, of wrongdoing prior to spending a pile of cash on an investigation. So it would be quite the opposite- the Congressman is declaring that the law ought to be followed, even when it's a large corporation.

What a worthless piece of shit of a country you americans are running.

Huh, imagine that. Hate based on ignorance breeding more hate and ignorance. I guess we don't have a monopoly on stupid people here in the 'States.

Maybe the point of this is... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41668919)

That everyone slams google and drags them through the mud over every single while other companies like say Apple do the same things and worse but get no attention at all from anyone. Apple is allowed to do similliar if not the same things, railroad anything they consider to be competition and just generally act like dicks but they are never held responsible for it. All the while google is the whipping boy.

So I take it as he says google shouldnt be singled out. Which I do agree with because all efforts are concentrated on them and when they happens they are blamed for everything and take extra hard hits they dont deserve. Even microsoft isnt really critized anymore, google has taken their place as the industries scape goat.

Besides lets face facts. In the grand scheme of things has google really done anything that terribly bad? No not at all. But thanks to the internet and armchair activist nerds everything gets blown way out of proportion. Google may have done a few shady things but they never have harmed anyone, mistreated customers, or whatnot. The good they have done for their users (in most cases 100% free to the customer at that) far outweighs anything negative they have done. While they could use some polish they are still the industry standard for how a quality company should be.

The best Congress money can buy! (1)

Grayhand (2610049) | about 2 years ago | (#41668937)

Why is it they are only willing to go to the mat for corporate interests and never seem to have time to do the business of the people? They spent most of this year on vacation but they seem to have time to threaten a government agency if they dare touch a rich corporate contributor. Shouldn't they be threatening them if they DON'T go after Google?

This, my dear friends, is how politics works (1)

Overzeetop (214511) | about 2 years ago | (#41669015)

You don't "buy" favor in Washington, you buy favor by making sure that you are indispensible to (lots of) congressmen through both direct funds and influence in their own backyard. A K Street lawyer with a nice donation and a healthy expense account is really just there to remind congressmen of how much good you do back in their home district, and what an awful economic blow it would be to lose you from their little corner of the world.

This kind of stuff goes on all the time, though it may not be so blatant. Knowing that the house majority would like to strip every last vestige of power from most of the executive branch regulatory agencies makes even Democrats feel confident in flexing a little muscle.

Ahem! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41669029)

Congress might react by curtailing its regulatory authority."

Says one congressman. Go away little man.

Jared Polis is one of the few.. (5, Interesting)

bmo (77928) | about 2 years ago | (#41669049)

... that actually gets it. He was one of the 5 or so congresscritters that "stood in the way" of SOPA during the House Judiciary Committee hearings. He even understands the seedy underbelly of the net without going apeshit with wild claims. Someone this "net literate" in Congress is a rare thing indeed. There are a few with Rs next to their names that also get it, but they are rare as hen's teeth also.

>Google is a monopoly

The market is that way because every other competitor's product sucks more. Yahoo somehow keeps finding ways to suck more as time goes on, even though it seems like it can't possibly suck more. Google Maps is unparalleled, for example. Nobody else has the equivalent of Google Earth. There is Google search and then there is "everyone else" - mirroring "IBM and the seven dwarfs." They may as well be Cuil. And after, what, a decade of Hotmail being a laughingstock, I'm not motivated to use And unlike other companies that "maintain monopolies," Google doesn't go out of its way to "cut off the oxygen" of its competitors or partners - they don't have to.

I don't like big corporations and Google's size makes me uneasy. But I have problems finding serious fault with how they got to where they are today.

And when the FTC actually ever takes Microsoft seriously, then maybe I'll give them the benefit of the doubt going after Google. But they didn't and won't so I won't.

--
BMO

Re:Jared Polis is one of the few.. (1)

oh_my_080980980 (773867) | about 2 years ago | (#41669341)

It's the job of the FTC to investigate and regulate.

Are you even familiar with the Unites States versus Microsoft......they did take Microsoft seriously. The fact that you don't bother to find out the facts is your problem.

tit for tat eh Congressman (1)

oh_my_080980980 (773867) | about 2 years ago | (#41669309)

I'm sure the same was said to the SEC before the 2008 financial collapse......

What this is really about: (2)

Mashdar (876825) | about 2 years ago | (#41669355)

We don't have much detail yet, but I think this is really going to be about Google "bundling" services. When I search for a local restaurant, a map and reviews pop up. When I type a ticker symbol, a stock quote appears.
While I love these services, I see how they might be questionably anti-competative. See Microsoft and the trouble they got in over Internet Explorer, Media Player, etc.
It seems it would be bad for consumers if they find Google guilty, but I'm not sure if the quality of the tool shields them from the claim that they coercing consumers into using their products.

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