Sample arguably anti-competitive actions Google has taken:
1. Turning off XMPP federation in Google Talk, moving from an open standard to an archipelago of walled gardens (Hangouts, Allo, GChat, Hangouts again, Messages/RCS that the carriers are gonna give up to Google to host(!?))
2. Killing Windows Phone by not allowing any Google-based apps on the platform (https://www.theverge.com/2017/7/14/15970082/google-killed-wi...)
3. Posting map/weather/review content straight to SERPs starving MapQuest/WU/Yelp et al from getting clicks
4. Anyone not browsing on Chrome gets an upsell to install Chrome (MS got roasted for this with Windows Media & best used on IE)
5. Degrading services on competing browsers/platforms via things like U2F in Firefox, slow/wontfix polyfills (https://www.computerworld.com/article/3389882/former-mozilla...)
There are probably more entries to list, and these are complex issues being reduced to a sentence or two, but I've tried to not post things that are not immediately anti-competitive even if I don't like 'em (Google+ forced integration which resulted in me still not commenting on YouTube all these years later, RIP Google Reader)
A recurring pattern with Google and YouTube: Someone achieves virality through controversy. They are promptly de-monetized, deleted, or frozen with no reason given. When the period of viral opportunity has passed, typically in about a day or two, the account/monetization is reinstated with no reason given.
This pattern is so insidiously subtle, so frequent, and so potentially powerful in manipulating the media of 2019, it probably deserves its own Wiki and its own investigation.
Those who can control virality can modulate most of the loudest voices on the Internet. That's basically the power to relegate the ideas you don't like to relative near silence. (Also, those who can control virality can pick the winners among startup companies.)
(EDIT: Basically, these sorts of shenanigans are like Michael Swaine's story from decades back about deleting his own parking tickets in South Carolina. He was supposed to have parking so he could work on the city's mainframe, but the bureaucracy dropped the ball. Way back then, this sort of thing amounts to a funny anecdote. In the world of 2019, it would be a firing offense and possibly get someone prosecuted for fraud. There are analogous things from the world of aviation, and stories of the wild west. With great power comes great responsibility. Make no mistake, as a technologist, you wield power.)
It is rather chilling to see that even though the world-wide web started open, so much centralization can have quite the chilling effect on competition.
What can we do about it? If I were king of the world, it would be P2P decentralized content provided over mesh-network-powered-by-cognitive-frequency-hopping-radio but since I'm not, what are solutions prospective officials could leverage?
Split Alphabet from YouTube, then split YouTube in half between user-posted content and business-posted content?
Inet in current form is too susceptible to governments and bad actors like Google who only work for their shareholders.
Has google released anything worthwhile the last several years?
What has happened to the culture of innovation at Google? We still know them for gmail, maps, and search but what have they done lately? They seem bland by comparison to the Google of the late 90s and 2000s.
Why has Google become the new Microsoft?
Google hasn't changed, their actions have acquired increased consequences and attention. You'd have to go back to their early days to find a truly different Google, nearly two decades into the past.
Gates for example was always ruthless in business, even in the early days, it's just that few people cared about Microsoft's behavior until they became powerful. The same is true of Google and most any corporation. Google is behaving pretty much as you would expect a company in their position to, it's entirely predictable.
Amusing Gary Reback quote (he was notorious in those days for opposing Microsoft in Silicon Valley) from the 1990s Microsoft era:
"The only thing J. D. Rockefeller did that Bill Gates hasn't done," Reback would wail, "is use dynamite against his competitors!"
Wired, Nov 1, 2000
The Truth, The Whole Truth, and Nothing But The Truth
Google the company shifted towards being purely profit oriented long ago, but google the employees didn't see it that way, and resisted quite a lot, until recently.
In some ways this is reminiscent of the history of civilization, where people band together for protection against marauders. In exchange for protection, we become vulnerable to tyranny.
Just to clarify- what sort of trust are you referring to in the context of a service like YouTube?
These problems, moderation and search (and some would say curation), are just two examples manifested by the hard problem of trust in decentralized systems.
I tried to find some pieces but it's honestly very difficult these days, due to the sheer quantity of garbage on the internet. My trust in centralized search engines is collapsing under the weight of so much spam. I'm legitimately worried there will be nothing to replace them.
Then we as the tech community need to figure out tooling so that grandma and grandpa can use p2p / mesh networks. We have several challenges in that way that I'd like to see solved, but don't know how to make that happen.
2 immediate challenges is that If you can't get today's iweather over ipfs or bittorrent (with a better UI clearly, not everything has to be file transfer), p2p can't fully replace HTTP. Email is arguably pretty federated if not quite p2p, but the spam problem is real.
The below example is an account of my grandma's attempt to get p2p chat going. Grandma doesn't even know what a p2p / mesh network is, but we will assume she read about it in the paper from the HK protests and being the enterprising unafraid-to-try-new-tech-things user most users aren't, she tries it out.
She is in a large concrete gym, no cell service unless she stepped out of the building for a moment. Remembering the paper article, she decided to try the Bridgefy app so she can text with someone else. How do you spell Bridgefy? Oh right, I have the paper here, let me painstakingly hunt and peck to find the name of the app in the Play Store, ah there it is. She stepped out of the gym, got signal, installed the app on both devices, then stepped back in and opened the app.
Her friend gave her her own phone so she could install both at once so they can be apart, yet chat.
Being forewarned by her techie grandson, she managed a feat denied to nearly all the cell-phone using public and skip the dark patterns of denying Bridgefy contacts, reluctantly giving it location access 'for Bluetooth', and attempting to stop it reading her phone number. Already, 95% of users would be long stopped by now. But she persisted.
The app would not move forward, giving error toast messages of error 7::0 cannot do that. She had to step back outside where she had signal for it to work for an unknown reason.
She got back in the gym, was not able to get either phone to talk to each other, either in 'public broadcast mode' or by trying to add a contact straight from the app. She uninstalled both copies and moved on without having p2p messaging, not because our devices' bluetooth radios couldn't handle ad hoc communication, but because the client doesn't exist that doesn't want to surveil or otherwise profile you.
PS -> that user was not an enterprising Grandma, but myself. If someone knows how to get Bridgefy / a p2p mesh chat app going without selling the privacy farm, I'd love to hear it.
It seems that the grandma/grandpa use case always comes up in technical discussions. I've never really seen the need to cater to those who aren't willing to learn how to use the tools they have.
Could a person born after 2000 figure out how to use a VCR? Set the timer so that it records the correct program? What about a rotary dial phone? Do they know how to make a collect call? What about directory assistance? Could they figure out how to use an 8 track player?
They probably wouldn't, but the motivated ones would avail themselves of the resources at hand and figure it out.
The same thing applies to current technology.
For tools that depends on network effects to provide value (such as P2P), the on-boarding process and learning curve are quite important to reaching the required levels of adoption.
This is especially true when you are competing uphill against alternate tools with established networks that provide more network effect value.
Yet all the examples I gave (rotary dial phones, 8 track players, VCRs) had very high rates of adoption. But I'm sure that there were people from generations once or twice removed from the introduction of such technologies that never really learned how to use them.
None of those products are close to as dependent on network effects to provide value. Rotary telephone didn't depend on other rotary telephone users, just the existence of automatic exchanges. 8 track and VCR didn't depend on other users of the format, but on the availability of content in that format. While they all gain advantages in pricing / availability from networks effects, the core functionality of these products does not depend directly on the network.
The rotary dial phone had no real competition.
8 track player adoption was largely driven by large automakers offering 8 track players as factory and dealer installed options (and thus simplifying the on-boarding process). Once 8-track's portable niche was taken over by the easier to use cassette tapes, it declined fairly quickly.
VCRs did not face an 'uphill' competition against a competitor with an existing network effect advantage. It can even be argued that Betamax lost (despite having a product that was percieved to be better) because its higher cost relative to VCRs hampered its on-boarding process.
There will (almost) always be people willing to cope with a worse on-boarding process and/or steep learning curve. (This is far more true for a product that has functionality not otherwise available.)
However, if your product is dependent on network effects and you are competing uphill against a similar product with a well established network, then your on-boarding process and learning curve will be critical (but not the only factor to) your success.
It is hard to find a group of products that is more dependent on network effects than P2P software (besides centralized messaging platforms).
It may be possible for them to change, but I doubt they'll do it on their own. The real driver that changes a company's culture is competition. And that's why I applaud this antitrust investigation.
Nadella has changed the course of that staid ship by changing the underlying culture, no small feat! Some specific actions: Microsoft Office on iPad and Android, going all in on cloud (Azure has 22% of the market, ahead of GCP's 7%, at the start of 2019), being friendly with Linux (Windows Subsystem for Linux - WSL, exFAT specs were released a few days ago), given up Windows Mobile (he “did not get why the world needed the third ecosystem in phones”).
This is the tech utopia's cop-out. What does p2p even mean? How is the current internet as it is not p2p? p2p doesn't solve discovery.
This is what happens when you develop an entire industry to avoid claiming the true number of employees your company has.
In the process you stifle creativity and innovation.
But hey, if your big enough you can just buy potential disrupters.
> On July 27, Tulsi Now Inc. filed a lawsuit against Google, alleging that the internet technology company suspended the campaign's Google Ads account without reason and that the company had treated the campaign's mail differently than it treated other campaigns' mail. The lawsuit seeks "an injunction against Google from further meddling in the election and damages of at least $50 million."
Interview about it, from yesterday:
Won't be in the 3rd debate, so that it's for her:
If you wonder why HN exists, this is it.
If Google went down tomorrow, we have what, Bing? Yahoo, DDG, and others are all powered by Bing. Otherwise we are trapped with the likes of Yandex/Baidu.
If it's down for a day, Bing is fine. If it's down forever, we have access to $100 billion per year in venture capital to chase one of the greatest economic opportunities in world history. It'd be an extraordinary gold rush that would draw in dozens of start-ups.
Europe would also produce several dozen new search start-ups attempting to take a piece of Google's former market position. It'd be a fun time with a lot of experimentation. Would we end up doing New Search mostly the same way we do Google Search today, just with more competition (or only until there's another winner takes all)?
In my mind the simplest explanation is not something nefarious by Google, but simply that advertisers don't want to be associated with controversial videos.
Then why would the re-monetization and restorations happen? It makes more sense that the timing of denial is the key thing. Also, it's an article of faith for implementers of large systems, that if something can be exploited, it will be exploited. This applies as much to attention and political power as it does to monetary gain. In the case of the 1st two, the exploitation is probably done by low level employees for outside interests.
Tulsi Gabbard is suing Google for exactly this:
Do we have a partial list of videos that followed this specific pattern? I'm curious what the agenda(s) might be.
We now have a load of hoops to jump through to justify spend on YouTube advertising - and political videos are a strict no-go area.
Do you have a link with more details? A quick Google didn't seem to turn up anything.
I can't find anything on this. Do you have a reference? Sounds interesting.
7. Overzealous GMail spam filters making it hard for anyone new to run email services
8. Google Groups: buying the biggest Usenet archive, breaking features, and embrace-extend-extinguishing it with groups that are on the same interface but don't syndicate to Usenet
9. Buying Meebo to shut it down, buying Softcard to shut it down.
10. Breaking reCAPTCHA for Firefox users, then maybe fixing it a year or two later after causing untold numbers of people to switch to Chrome (possible duplicate of degrading services)
11. Running YouTube at a massive loss for a decade to prevent anyone else from competing in online video
12. Not letting YouTube be run on Amazon devices
13. Bundling / requiring / defaulting Google services on Android phones, the world's dominant phone platform
14. Slowly allowing more ads in search (which has 90+% market share) and reducing their visibility so that people have to pay to have their own website show up when they are searched for
All this being said, my gut is that something with their opaque ad markets is what's really going to stand out in the investigation.
Here is Jason Fried of Basecamp openly accusing Google of a shakedown racket:
Of the 100,000 or so people that actually give $2,700 to political candidates, I'd think this is their biggest gripe with Google, and likely the issue that is going to cause Google the most problems.
The more interesting thing to me is how quickly goodwill just expires. Google search is among mankind's greatest achievements in the past century, along with the free gifts of quality email, youtube, android, etc. It is an interesting thought experiment of how to keep a brand burnished in the eyes of the public given goodwill decays so rapidly.
Sometimes I get mildly useful information that stands out from the page after page of pagerank gamed garbage.
Now, searching reddit.com for solutions has other issues (notably using Reddit on iOS via Safari, is, as of 9/2019, almost entirely impossible), but that's where I'm at currently.
I don't think it's a coincidence that those poor quality results are given precedence when they also happen to be littered with, and optimized for, Adsense ads.
I am certainly biased because I seem to see more negative HN Google comments than positive ones. But, I'm starting to wonder if taking money from Google will cause politicians problems in 2020. Will we see candidates bashing each other for being too cozy with Google? Could taking Google money even become a third rail?
AT&T, on the other hand, is the one that's quite overzealous.
How is that different from what every VC does?
1. Did Apple ever offer a XMPP federated iMessage? Facebook offered XMPP messenger? Shall Google bear the eternal burden of keeping their products constant, and not make changes they think are better(even if they are worse overall).
2. When did we have iTunes on windows Phone either? Even Office came for Android and iOS only when the fate of Windows phone was sealed. Lots of developers didn't develop for Windows phone. Shall those be investigated too? (Yes yes, MSFT did make a youtube app, but google has full liberty to decide which platforms they want to make apps for).
4. Now MSFT even specifically tells you that Edge is a better browser in Windows during all sorts of things(while changing default browser, I think while downloading other browsers too). Also iOS will always remind you Safari is there, as it is the default browser and that can't be changed.
As a former Windows Phone user, there were apps that talked to Google Accounts (mail, calendar, contacts) as well as an app written to work with YouTube. I don't remember any others right now. But Google actively blocked those apps while refusing to release their own interface to their services. That made it more painful than it needed to be to continue using Windows Phone. The fact that they were able to say "too bad, we will not work with you, the users will suffer" is exemplary of their dominant position.
Maybe there are iTunes users out there that wanted to access their iTunes accounts on Windows phone, but could not?
Windows phone had no Instagram too, and even that made it painful to use. If the platform doesn't have enough users, developers aren't obliged to develop for it.
You could always use a web browser for all of Google's services. They never blocked HTML5 apps.
This was not true of YouTube, where Google actively blocked Microsoft from building a native client.
Google still disallowed it.
Google likewise disallowed various Amazon devices from accessing YouTube during their Amazon dispute.
Other entities like Instagram were under no obligation to build for Windows Phone, but 6tag was built and served the purpose. I don't believe Instagram blocked 6tag from working. If they did, it might not be anti-competitive, but just anti-consumer.
Beyond this, Google's behavior had ripple effects. Developers could tell that Google was putting up roadblocks to make Windows Phone an undesirable platform, and that discourages contributions.
If iTunes only exists on iPhones, but not Android, then it doesn't matter if it also doesn't exist on Windows Phone. Apple, the iPhone and iTunes are not monopolies. They are a walled garden, though. That's just a separate issue.
Is it me or does that just sound like whataboutism? So people complain about Google intentionally screwing over a competitor but what about Apple? Apple is very much "we play on our own court".
Regarding the original list, it's likely only 2 and 5 would pass muster as being issues that antitrust laws would actually be able to deal with effectively. Number 3? Might be an issue if you can frame the argument in a manner more consistent with antitrust concerns. 1 and 4 are probably just emotional frustration leading the poster to say, "These must be illegal because I don't like them."
We need to focus on real issues if we want to be taken seriously. Right now privacy and security activists just sound shrill and unconvincing. Part of that lack of credibility is the tendency to focus on things that are not true issues from a legal perspective as opposed to the slam dunk type issues that stare us in the face.
This is why these issues are so hard to build a consensus around in the larger population, because lawyers hear the complaints of some activists, and they just laugh. Then those lawyers go off and work on things that actually have a chance in Hell of working. So I applaud the move to have an antitrust investigation, but we shouldn't be under the impression that every little thing some guy doesn't like is part of it. There are very specific families of issues that are reviewed for propriety, and if action needs to be taken, it is.
Doesn't mean we should waste the time of these states looking into why some guy's youtube account was cancelled. That, and other ridiculously trivial issues like it, are not what this is about. So we shouldn't even set up those expectations. Particularly not in lieu of getting the word out to the larger society about real antitrust issues. (Of which Google and FB are the main offenders.)
No offense, but honestly just look around. Those activists are killing it nationally in the PR game and have been consistently for the past year.
Compare that with other issues. How many people around here know all about the #MeToo issue? How many people around here know the ins and outs of all the immigration stuff? You may have disagreements with them as to what should be done about these issues, but they definitely know them. Even more esoteric issues, something like prison reform or the trade war. They definitely know what it means for them and are all about making sure things go their way on those issues. They know Trump is about the trade war. They know Kim K and Trump are about prison reform. They largely support both. (Again, I'm not making an argument about whether or not they are on the right side, just pointing out the difference in familiarity with the issues.)
The only people around here who know about security and privacy issues are the meth dealers, the few techies, and the usual bedfellows of child porn lovers/racist ideologues. We have to get the average teacher in, say, Markesan or wherever, talking about privacy and security in the classroom the same way they talk about Kim K's prison reform push, or the trade war.
I'm respectfully suggesting that this is something that is just not happening right now. Definitely not around here.
On the coasts (which is half the country at least), people are certainly talking about FB and privacy.
#MeToo requires a cultural shift, not a legislative shift.
The idea that you could disappear completely from anyone using modern technology (which is what getting accounts banned from communication services will amount to) with no legal recourse or transparency is horrifying, even if it's technically legal, because the laws were written at a time when the tools of communication were widely distributed and could only be feasibly disrupted by governments.
In the short term, the lawyers matter. In the long term, we need to create laws and conventions which ensure that the lawyers of the future are focusing on the right issues.
I used to work at Google. Apps written by hobbyists were only exceptionally rarely blocked deliberately. But those apps often [ab]use internal APIs and protocols of the services, so they'd break during updates (which were frequent). Sometimes they have to be blocked due to external contracts (e.g. Maps). Sometimes they tripped anti-botting/anti-spam detection and got users blocked that way.
In the end there's no law, agreement or even convention that all services exposed over the internet must allow reimplementations of third party client software. Moxie Marlinspike has written about the difficulties introduced by formally supporting this:
Yes there are. They are called anti trust laws, and anti competition laws. These laws apply to companies that have significant market power, regardless if they are on the internet or not.
If a company has significant market power, then it is illegal for them to engage in anti competitive practices.
In Google's industries, such as search, it can be described as being close to a monopoly, which is enough for anti trust laws to kick in.
Yes, if you have significant market power, then you are required by law to not engage in anti competitive practices.
This is a common thing that happens in anticompetitive case law.
Just ignore the internet part of this, for a second. Instead, imagine if a train company, that owned all of the train tracks in the US, decided to retaliate against it competitors by banning some people from using their trains. This is anti competitive.
Being on the internet does not absolve you from anti competitive claims.
This is similar to internet clients. There isn't much difference, logically, from banning people from using your trains, vs banning them from using their stuff on the internet.
If something effects competition, and you are a monopoly, it could be considered anti competitive. It being on the internet doesn't change this.
No it isn't. As long as the train company is not banning people based on a protected category (a local or federal civil right), a private corporation can choose who it does business with. A company has the right to refuse service. How does that even apply to competition? If anything, refusing some customers from using their trains means that it opens up competition for other companies to serve those banned customers.
To take your analogy in another direction - if a private train company buys land across the US, lays down track with their labor and their material, they are not forced to let other companies use their tracks. That is what you're asking for here.
Of course, if this were a public company or utility that was paid for with public funds, it is a different matter - because it belongs to the public. But a private company doing what it wishes with the private resources it acquired and manages is a right.
This is not true.
I would strongly encourage you to read up on the history of anti trust law.
I chose the example of train lines for a reason. The reason being that this literal thing happened. It is the literal most famous example of antitrust law, of all time.
The sherman anti trust act was created, for the literal purpose of prosecuting people, related to railroads, in the example that I just gave.
> if a private train company buys land across the US, lays down track with their labor and their material, they are not forced to let other companies use their tracks.
Yes they are. This happened. Literally this exact situation happened. It was called the Standard Oil Company. And they used the railroad system in the exact way that I described, and it was was broken up, in the most famous example in history of anti-trust law.
Check it out here:
So once again, this is not an argument about what could happen. This is instead an argument of literally what happened, in the most famous example of anti-trust law, in history.
You cannot disagree with what happened, related to the most famous example of anti-trust law, in history.
I am honestly not sure if you know what anti-trust law even is, if you don't understand anything about the most famous example of anti-trust law in history.
Maybe I missed it, but I'd love to understand how your specific example relates to Antitrust and the Sherman act (other than being tangentially related to railroad ownership).
The TLDR is that if the refusal to deal with a competitor helps maintain the monopoly, then it might violated anti-trust law.
Here are the main points:
"In general, any business — even a monopolist — may choose its business partners. However, under certain circumstances, there may be limits on this freedom for a firm with market power. As courts attempt to define those limited situations when a firm with market power may violate antitrust law by refusing to do business with other firms, the focus is on how the refusal to deal helps the monopolist maintain its monopoly, or allows the monopolist to use its monopoly in one market to attempt to monopolize another market."
"For instance, if the monopolist refuses to sell a product or service to a competitor that it makes available to others, or if the monopolist has done business with the competitor and then stops, the monopolist needs a legitimate business reason for its policies."
There are absolutely cases where refusing to do business with competitors, can violate anti-trust laws. It says so right there, on an official government page related to this.
This, and similar things were happening, related to railroad services and prices, related to standard oil, which is why I brought up that example.
But that government page is a more general explanation of the problem.
EDIT -> They did NOT, see below comment by nvrspyx.
Apparently they did, and removed it around Mojave-era or so...? I'm not familiar with Apple products, this statement is based on https://www.reddit.com/r/MacOS/comments/9l5xu7/mojave_now_th...
> Also iOS will always remind you Safari is there, as it is the default browser and that can't be changed.
> When did we have iTunes on windows Phone either?
I agree that incompatibility in general is not on its face evidence of anti-competitive behavior.
> Facebook offered XMPP messenger?
They did, then once they imported users to their platform, turned that feature off. That might have precipitated Google to turn off XMPP federation on GTalk to stop the bleeding.
> Shall Google ... not make changes they think are better(even if they are worse overall)?
Nobody said that Google cannot make any changes to their products. Moving from a standard 'everyone' can use to a closed-off system could be argued as anti-competitive, hence its inclusion on the list.
> Lots of developers didn't develop for Windows phone. Shall those be investigated too?
Those developers could refrain from developing themselves, but they were not in a position to stop competitors from developing their own apps. Google is in a different position.
> Yes yes, MSFT did make a youtube app, but google has full liberty to decide which platforms they want to make apps for
Google said not to develop the app that way, but this way. MS complied. Google still refused to allow the app for no explained/good/political/anti-competitive? reasons. Google was focused on killing Windows Phone, not the iPhone, even as far back as 2006. Eric S in the Verge article in my above comment "... at the time we were very concerned that Microsoft's mobile strategy would be successful."
So you're saying that Google (or any other company for that matter) is better off NEVER EVER releasing services that use potentially open protocols because later on if they would ever consider changing those to a closed protocol it can be seen as anti-competitive. Better to just always use closed protocols.
The best way to counteract that strategy is a more complicated topic.
You are correct that creating bad rules around the removal of open protocols could end up dis-incentivizing usage of open protocols, but that doesn't mean there aren't some good rules that won't (I don't claim to know what they would be).
I think it makes sense that we create anti-trust or consumer protection laws that cover the circumstances under which services with high market-shares can remove support for open protocols.
I even see a potential argument to require services with sufficiently high market-share to implement open protocols.
Maximizing profits, which is the goal that moves every company everywhere, from small shops to multinational corporations, leads ultimately to this if no, sloppy, or deliberately inefficient control is performed.
It seems to me like a decent first step.
They did actually. https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=9266769 The actual link itself is now gone, so there are comments. I remember using it with Thunderbird at the time.
That's not to say they can never change their product lineup or discontinue products. But if they do, they have to answer questions like this. If there was no malicious intent behind removing XMPP support from their chat product, then everything is fine and the questions stop. We don't know, which is why regulators are investigating.
On the Windows Phone part, you are blatantly misrepresenting what happened. It's not that Google refused to develop apps for Windows Phone, it's that they refused to develop apps for Windows Phone, then blocked Microsoft from developing their own apps for Google products, then blocked Windows Phones from accessing Google products through a web browser that was more than capable of displaying Google web apps. You could not access Google web apps on Windows Phones in any way, a limitation that was not applied to any other phone maker or any other phone.
There is absolutely no defending that situation, Google played Microsoft hard and they played them dirty. Yes, Microsoft has done the exact same thing in the past and yes they deserved it, but remember: Microsoft was punished as an abusive monopolist.
However, even if you look at the pre-2007 pre-FB era, instant messaging was dominated by Yahoo Messenger, AOL Messenger, MSN Messenger, etc. None of them supported federation, there were several attempts at interop, but none of them wanted it. Moreover, IIRC, Google's stated reason in 2014 for dropping federation was a non-reciprocal leaching that some of these platforms were using to exploit XMPP federation to ingest users into their walled gardens.
In messaging, every single product Google has offered has failed to gain market, and it's really Facebook and Apple which collectively have a oligarchal stranglehold on the market (or WeChat in China)
Google's latest attempt is a restoration of federation on mobile through RCS, but what's the likelihood that the dominance of iMessage and FB Messenger/WhatsApp are going to be weakened by this?
And I still fail to understand how Google surveilling and exfiltrating is somehow better than anyone else doing it.
I get why this is included in Anti Trust but I love this feature. Recently read a report that now <50% results lead to click which means it is loved by lot of users too.
You're misinterpreting that report. All it tells us is that Google returns results the user doesn't want to click on more than half the time. We can't determine whether that's for positive reasons (eg info in the results page) or negative reasons (eg the results were garbage) based on the fact there wasn't a click.
I personally hate Google including say Wikipedia snippets. Quite often I want to read more of the article, and the link is small and at the bottom of the box, often requiring you to click and arrow to reveal the full box.
If they value Wikipedia and Genius/MusicMatch so much, they should make it much clearer where they got their content from.
Whenever you search for song names they take the first two pages and interesting stuff such as news and interviews are scattered around the rest of the results.
Allow power users to pick a default, so we don't have to suffer through terrible third party content and ads.
Disabling this functionality will be a net negative for the end user.
Google is now basically saying "everything is search", i.e. rolling pretty much everything into SERP pages so you never need to click off Google.
The other evil stuff they did, like blackmailing PC makers to ban competing OSes, didn't even get them in much trouble.
There's a bit of a difference between controlling the OS, which was (largely still is) almost impossible for the average user to safely change even if they wanted to, and controlling a web page that anyone who can type 20 characters can switch away from.
1. They own Android, so as the default search engine on the majority of the world's phones they are privy to insane amounts of data. They also know tons of other things that only being in control of the largest OS provides, like location history and app history.
2. Similarly, with their purchase of DoubleClick 15ish years ago they own the largest ad network.
3. With Gmail they probably know as much about social connections as Facebook.
4. They de facto control AMP, and can thus dictate site implementation to millions of publishers.
All of this info is used by Google to constantly improve their search engine, and it has all the hallmarks of using information from disparate areas (mainly of businesses they acquired, mind you) to build a deeper moat.
and their moneymaker, ads: preventing advertisers from reaching any kind of adult content publishers by imposing arbitrary filters for what is "acceptable", and using advertising revenue as a weapon to deplatform opinions they dont like
Their acquisition of AI competitors is a huge one imho. They are the only companies which seriously threaten their search engine. In another time, the UK would have blocked the purchase of Deepmind for national security reasons alone.
Every time you install a new copy of Windows and switch the browser to Firefox/Chrome/whatever, you get prompted "are you sure you really want to switch from Edge? It's amazing!!!1!" Then there's the fact occasionally it will still open things up in Edge -- search for 'Amazon' in Windows Start (is that what we're calling it still?) and do "Search the web" or "Web results" and it will open Edge (in Bing). Apparently my default apps are Mail for Email, Maps for Maps, Groove Music for Music Player, nothing for Photo viewer, nothing for Video player, and Google Chrome for Web browser. I've never opened Mail, Maps or Groove Music, I've never had a problem with photos and videos opening in my preferred viewers, and Windows doesn't seem to entirely respect the Web browser setting anyway...
Antitrust against Google? Sure, but MS is still doing it's antitrust thing 20 or so years on; I'm not aware of Apple being significantly different either. Outside of the OS vendors, all of the tech companies are trying to "maximize profits" by spying on users, forcing lock-in, degrading others' services, whatever.
Point being? I don't know -- "Big Tech" sucks and there's either no taste or no competence in government for shutting down these little tricks and loopholes. Something needs to change, but I don't know how or what. Join EFF, donate money? Maybe...
I suppose that's me in the super-privacy-nerd bubble. Having moved to Fastmail for email and using Firefox for Mobile + Startpage search, I almost never encounter Amp in my own SERPs (not that there's much AMP content out there for Clonk Endeavor ;P).
Or let's look at it differently, if you are Google and find that a new, HTTP-incompatible protocol would make things better for a significant number of clients, how would you develop and push for that new standard in a way that people won't complain about anti-competitive behavior like you are complaining above? And are you sure that following those steps won't result in other people on HN complaining that it's anti-competitive?
IMHO, google would have been fine if they had done everything the same but instead of basing mobile search results on AMP usage, they had based it on page load time metrics.
EDIT: The issue with AMP is less that Google created a new standard and more the way that Google has tried to utilize its other properties to force adoption of that standard in ways that seem more focused on benefiting Google than the internet as a whole.
1. xmpp sucks for battery life. extensions to improve it exist but are optional. xmpp-free hangout was free to improve battery use
2. if i made money selling ads and someone used my content for free & ripped out the ads, i would deny them access too. If they had 0.01% of marketshare, i also would not prioritize making a custom app just for them either
3. GOOD! i do not want to make extra clicks when i do not need to.
4. ok, this is a dick move, i admit
5. having worked at google and seen how things work in there, i am 100% sure this is not a top-down "break firefox whenever possible" directive but just normal shortage of engineering effort and too many things prioritized higher than "make shit work in firefox"
I honestly had no idea about this one. The Windows phone and Microsoft clearly had other issues with their mobile platform, but this clearly did not help. Most people I know said they wouldn't switch because most of the Android apps weren't available on the Windows app store.
Microsoft was guilty of this vis-a-vis Windows, Office, and Internet Explorer (and maybe some server side stuff). Google may be guilty of it as well with Google Search, Chrome, YouTube, Gmail.
1. Shopping. Google got in big trouble with the EU about this recently.
2. Job listings. Google launched a jobs product and promoted it above the SERP, damaging Glassdoor / Indeed etc.
Providing the largest source of traffic (via google search) and competing in industries that depend on that traffic is an inherent conflict of interest.
HN's default position of "burn the ads with fire", therefore, has always struck me as a very privileged position that fails to take into account users from all around the world. And guess what? If the kind of people who usually post here succeed in forcing through that opinion, that is what most of the world will have to deal with too, since Silicon Valley drives so much of tech.
 Although, it is unlikely that advertisers are really targeting the kind of users I'm talking about, so in effect these users are being subsidized by others.
I personally would also like to see Google be the first of many "sellers" of digital goods prosecuted for fraud and false advertising for constantly advertising that they are "selling" you digital content when they are, in fact, only giving you a license which itself amounts to a contract lacking consideration - placing no obligation upon the licensor and extending no legally enforceable benefit to the licensee.
Comcast & AT&T are terrible actors, and they need more regulation, not less, to counter their natural monopoly + rent-seeking behaviors, but there is at least some regulation going on that could be iterated on. Google is, relatively speaking, running amok through the streets.
My current frames are Zyloware frames from Walmart.
Before that, my frames were made by Safilo. I had those for something like a decade.
The frames before that say "Frame Japan". I can't find anything useful about "Frame Japan" on Google, so don't know if those are made by Luxottica or not.
I would maintain the position that prosecutors often look for attainable (low risk) fruit. It certainly depends on the prosecutor, but the federal level has been quite reluctant in the past (e.g. how did at&t become so large?...).
Basically, I don't see progress, even if it's maybe not the most important thing, as ever being a bad thing.
People seem to be broadly confusing competitive practices with anti-competitive practices. There's nothing anti-competitive about outperforming your competition. No amount of outperforming your competition can make a company anti-competitive. The premise is ridiculous. As long as Bing exists, Google search obviously isn't a monopoly. GSuite is obviously not a monopoly, Microsoft sells essentially the same product. GCP is obviously not a monopoly, it's piddling compared to AWS, and smaller than Azure too. The only Google product I can think of that a reasonable person might find concerning from a monopolistic perspective is Youtube, since afaik it has no comparable competition these days. But even still, having no competition doesn't make your behavior anti-competitive unless you arranged to have no competition through some mechanism other than offering a superior product. Youtube appears to have beaten out the other products in its niche based on merit. why is it Google's problem if no other company was up to the challenge of profiting in that niche?
It benefits consumers immensly since with good alternatives users can for example use more privacy conscious apps or apps with different approaches of solving their problem than what google thinks is best.
I also don't get the anti-Google movement, there are far worse things like our broken healthcare and criminal justice system. This seems like one of those "screw the coastal elites" type of thing. Unless someone can give a reasonable explanation of why Google specifically should be targeted instead of other companies that are more conservatively aligned.
That doesn't make you a bad person, but it IS a bad reason.
Also, I think the reasoning is independent of the specific situation.
Working at $PLACE could benefit the poster. So the poster wants to see $PLACE continue to have a bright future. Seems like a standard argument for capitalism and the free-flow of human capital to better jobs.
I understand there are externalities that affect this specific situation, hence the investigation, but since it's not clear there's antitrust behavior, it seems premature to classify the reasoning as bad.
what about gleefully supporting the investigation because it will create opportunities for competition, create room for other small companies to have at least a fighting chance at success?
This is really curious. Do you think anticompetitive investigations and lawsuits should depend on the political orientation of companies?
* Advertising revenue is practically nonexistent today compared to its heyday in the late 90s. This is because a few key players like Google have created a monopoly/oligopoly where they are so large, with so much more personal information on everybody, that they keep much of the profit for themselves and squeeze out any competition.
* The internet still provides lucrative careers for many, but this is in spite of (not due to) monopolistic players like Google. In other words, we'd all profit more, and have more room to innovate, if the big players like Google, Apple, Facebook, Amazon, etc didn't control nearly every aspect of the internet.
* Google is several orders of magnitude bigger than anyone's conception of how big it is. Short of a national monopoly breakup campaign, this will have little to no effect on their profitability or hiring.
My personal feeling is that income inequality largely stems from the US no longer enforcing antitrust laws, consumer protection laws, or finance laws like the Glass–Steagall Act. It effects liberals and conservatives alike and leads to global threats like nationalism (a leading contender for World War III) when the vast majority of the population spends so much time working to make rent that it's effectively disenfranchised, no longer has upward mobility/retirement, and doesn't have the means to raise a family.
They shouldn't be targeted to the exclusion of others based on political alignment, but neither should the not-googles be targeted to the exclusion of google based on google's politics.
> Would I be a bad person for saying I'm sad about this because I want to work at Google and I don't like seeing their future threatened?
You're not a bad person for rooting for a company or wanting to work there. I'd just say you're incredibly naive for having a such an attachment to brand. And you're setting yourself to have some of your most productive years chewed up by a company (not even necessarily google) that can take advantage of your dedication with no additional compensation beyond trowing some creature comforts at you.
Disclaimer: I work at Google but I haven't seen any internal communication related to anti competitive behavior, I just know what I read in the news.
Never ceases to amaze me how you "liberal" americans can support a megacorp in this manner while simultaneously thinking of yourselves as being on the left...
The term I know for this type of attitude is "champagne socialist".
Preaching liberal values with a silver spoon firmly wedged in their gob, only caring for those values superficially or only when it applies to others.
It's virtually all political propaganda from hostile nations. Europeans understand that they desperately need to develop a tech sector to compete with China and the US while their population is aging, brains are draining, and productivity is slumping. But since they've killed off their own tech companies seemingly the only option now is to try and ban FAANG - protectionism through propaganda, arbitrary fines, targeted taxes, etc. Then you see some troll or a useful idiot from US post a nonsensical argument like "I BUILT MY PERSONAL BROWSER AND GOGOLE DIDN'T ALLOCATE 100 ENGINEERS TO MAKE THEIR APPS WORK ON IT", and upvote bots from China / Iran / Russia pick up and amplify the post to the top. This is modern warfare and it's effective. Ask a senior engineer at Reddit or any other communication platform and they'll confirm it (in private).
If you get a chance you should definitely work at Google out of Mountain View office because you'll gain unparalleled technical knowledge and build an amazing network that can match Stanford or Harvard as far as your future goes.
oh but title said territories plural, red alert
The original title seems like the best option. Also, D.C. is a territory in a loose sense (part of the U.S. but not a state), just not the same formal category of territory as Puerto Rico. It's an immaterial distinction in a headline such as this.
Now, large numbers of Republicans view Big Tech as the enemy, and combined with Democrats historic suspicion of Big Business, this has resulted in a very volatile time with respect to government regulation and investigation.
> "Amazon Marketplace and Basics, and Google’s ad exchange and businesses on the exchange would be split apart. Google Search would have to be spun off as well," according to the [Warren] plan.
I'm all for busting up monopolists, but what would fund Google search? I mean, that's what arguably drove Google to build its ad business, in the first place. But if it could work somehow, maybe we'd get a return to more useful search results.
Edit: OK, I get it, ads.
Amazon is utilizing its knowledge of its powerful marketplace machine — from optimizing word-search algorithms to analyzing competitors’ sales data to using its customer-review networks — to steer shoppers toward its in-house brands and away from its competitors, say analysts.
This data is much more powerful than large retail outlets have with their store brands: “I can’t just walk into a store and say, ‘Excuse me, did you look at this brand of cereal this morning and decide not to buy it?’ Amazon has that data. They know you looked at a brand and didn’t buy it and they’re not going to share that data with any other brands.”
They definitively can, and are. Granted, it's a fairly new development.
Is there any way that we as a society could try to move towards an online economy that isn't built upon hijacking attention?
And even in a post-scarcity post-money society the one thing which remains valuable is attention.
However, I also get that many people couldn't afford even micropayment prices that are comparable to current ad income. So they'd need some accommodation. Having a "pay or see ads" choice might work. Except that there are adblockers.
This is at least how I took it to mean.
Good luck changing billions of lines of code so you can create a clean separation that can work together between different companies.
"Too big to refactor" is a pretty silly argument against anti trust action
Also that's just not how "single large repositories" even work
Google has a effective monopoly on search traffic, (find me a Bing exclusive SEO firm), if they leverage that to gain Android marketshare or others, they could run into issues.
It took the various levels of government about 15 years to catch on that all was not well with Google.
Apple will not skate by forever, but at the moment there are more egregious fish to fry.