I don't really know what headspace I should be in when I open these articles. I generally want to understand the underlying motivations of the publishers. How are y'all feeling?
Let's not limit it to antitrust issues since it's usually been about privacy, free speech, the rest
I don't trust them to report on tech companies objectively one bit. And why should I? They have a vested interest in presenting negative coverage.
Similar to the exception that already exists for unions.
Read all the threads on HN about the Boeing 737 MAX, many from the same publications writing about Big Tech like the NYT, you never see any commentary about the publications and their motives like you do in the Big Tech threads.
The Occam razor's explanation for the difference is that the reaction to critical coverage when it's about your industry will be different in a predictable way.
NYT, WaPo, WSJ have all done fine while other publications that were founded on the premise of social traffic have gone out of business.
They're destination sites and brands in and of themselves, they don't rely on third party referral traffic.
More that the press does narratives, which are often the creation of, or strongly influenced by, long-term PR campaigns.
My very fuzzy understanding is, atleast after the Microsoft-Google nonaggression pact some years ago, the largest interest pushing the anti-BigTech narrative has been Hollywood, wishing to regulate the lawless internet and reduce tech industry influence.
One thing that's puzzled me, and I'd appreciate any insight, is how Microsoft got dropped from the Big Tech set.
Interesting, though, how their compliance with censoring and filtering etc in China for years barely register compared to the outrage Google gets for even preparing for it.
And thinking about it, Microsoft IS big in social with acquisitions like LinkedIn, Skype and GitHub.
But no one's getting concerned or outraged on those accounts. After being the nemesis for so long, I think they have learned to play this game very well this time around.
Oracle is unpopular, so let's add the noodle shop to compensate. You won't like EU fines, so we say that USA should fine before. Epic photo of the noodles guy. Very nice photo of Yelp people, who wouldn't like to work there?
To be honest, I believe that Google and friends are very dangerous right now. But with all HN limitations, any discussions here is light years deeper than this fluff.
Neither party here is guided by principles about monopolistic business practices.
Regulating monopolistic business practices is incredibly difficult to achieve in even a stable regulatory climate by genuinely interested lawmakers and regulators. In a White House environment driven primarily through personal animus, this shares vastly more in common with a shake-down than with small-business emancipation.
So he wants the free traffic but not to pay for it in any way?
Ah, the "i want my cake and to eat it too" argument. A classic
If people are specifically looking for his business he doesn’t want the competitors business to be able to buy an ad that pops up before the user searching for his business.
That has nothing to do with wanting free traffic for nothing. This guy has likely already built a website that is optimized for google search, likely uses paid gmail/google apps, probably registered all his info in google maps...that’s a lot of free data entry for google so their product is better and some of those business services are paid.
So now that you use their paid services and probably paid for web development/SEO up to Google’s lastest standards, your business comes up #1 on google searches...and they sell an ad before your result.
There is no great real world example, but imagine you have a brick and mortar and sign a commercial lease in a shopping center, then the landlord rents signage in front of your sign to a competitor. Of course he’d always be happy to rent you the 2nd signage if you beat your competitors bid.
Imagine if when people called your restaurant to make a reservation the phone company had someone else answer the phone first and suggest you try a different restaurant.
No metaphor is perfect but that’s pretty reasonable. Conceptually Google is some kind of an amalgamation of a common carrier and natural regulated monopoly at this point and should be treated as such.
>Strowger, an undertaker, was motivated to invent an automatic telephone exchange after having difficulties with the local telephone operators, one of whom was the wife of a competitor. He was said to be convinced that she, as one of the manual telephone exchange operators, was sending calls "to the undertaker" to her husband.
Yellow Pages would be more like googling "<cuisine> Restaurant in <town>", in which case displaying with all your competitors is much more reasonable.
Nobody's rights are violated by that. There's no conflict of business interests. That's just competition. I think it's the same with running ads against searches for a competitor; Google does not take payment for search placement nor provide unrelated benefits to paid users of its services.
>There's no conflict of business interests.
This is big time a conflict, look no further than the antitrust investigations. Google is known to use their market position (data) to launch businesses in high dollar keyword industries and have their product rise to the top organically and upbid keyword on market incumbents forcing them to pay up or lose position to google products.
To say google doesn’t pay for search placement is a play with words, they take payment for ads that take the shape and form of results and appear above organic results (I’ll call it true #1), organic search results are not paid for...with the exception google sets the rules, and their is heavy buyin/investment from the company’s to obtain #1 organic placement, not to mention the seo rules generally reward and promote use of other google services/buyin.
This is (now) wrong. Google search-rank ads show up in the search results with only minor indicia that they are ads. This is very different from what Google used to do--keep ads and search results separate with clear visual indications of what content was ads.
While you might take issue with all the above-the-fold space being taken up by advertisements and local results, I don't think you can get much clearer than having each advertisement say "Ad". That's a lot more distinction than you get with say TV or print ads.
And, of course, Google knows this. The past 10-15 years has seen a sea change where ads look more and more like natural search results, and as they've taken up more and more real estate. It used to be you could compete with having good SEO positioning, but now SEO positioning is almost irrelevant for any commercial terms (except for how it affects your AdWords bidding positioning), as basically everything above the fold is just ads now.
On a 1200px tall desktop screen with adblocking turned off, I see four ads that look like search results with a small "Ad" marker next to them, then a map. One map search result is visible on the first screen. When I scroll, there are three map search results, then three organic web search results. These are followed by four suggested queries, three more organic web search results, then four news stories before I get to the rest of the results.
I'm not sure I'd call this evil, but Google used to be explicitly anti-evil and this is very much not that.
>There is no great real world example, but imagine...
Well for each one of Google’s services there are legal agreements between them and the business.
Landlords and google may not be exact but in both instances businesses are dependent, and business don’t just pay google/landlords, business improve and bring value to both google/property. In the case of property a restaurant may do a $1M buildout and the landlord will benefit later if he can release to another restaurant who can reuse the buildout. Or maybe your Walmart and an anchor store bringing customer making the rest of the locations more valuable for the landlord. Google benefits through better products: search results, maps, business info (hours, phone, etc...). The signage seems apt, as a business if I invest in the google ecosystem and make their products better it’s at the very least bizarre they would benefit by selling ads for my business name to my competitors. Basically it’s saying as business succeed on google, google is going to make more money advertising your value to competitors.
There is plenty of shady stuff with spammers in say the locksmith area but not heard of problems with single ton restaurants - yelp reviews are a lot more sketchy IMO
There is experimental support to stop this detection in chrome now (74 and later). Go to chrome://flags/ and Enable "Filesystem API in Incognito". It should be on by default in an upcoming version.
For obvious reasons, you don't want that API active for private browsing (As persisting it would enable tracking), but by combining browser version detection to determine if a browser supports the API with feature detection to see that it's disabled, you can assume that "Private Browsing" is on.
Better browser API design might include in-memory only support for the API, but I haven't thought that all the way through.
Re: "how do they detect it?" -- without investigating it, I would suspect browser fingerprinting within a window time slice.
For anyone else who didn't know.
In that case, I just share to Pocket and read there (never a problem, even without an account). I assume they have some sort of deal with Pocket where they share analytics with the publishers in exchange for giving unpaywalled access.
Any antitrust movement has a play out of over ten years.
The current g20 progress towards closing tax loopholes via digital tax is also a ten year process..
The Reckoning has not occured yet...not even close...