Friday, June 16, 2017

Google & EU Lawsuit

This article is from the financial times and discusses a possible fine that could be levied against Google by the EU Competition Commission. At the root of the case is the commissions charge that Google used its leading position in search to "give preference to its other services - such as shopping, travel and local search- to the detriment of its competitors".

This brings up an interesting question when it comes to Google's might in the search space: do they have a responsibility to show users the best results, regardless of how it helps their bottom line? We, as consumers and user of various technology platforms/tools, (maybe foolishly) trust these companies to use our information in an appropriate and fair manner. As a consumer, I would want to see the results that serve my interest in the most cost effective manner. If I were a competitor to Google Shopping or Travel, for example, I would be quite disturbed by this case. However, Google can be both a positive and negative for competitors. On one hand, just appearing in a search result gives exposure to millions of people. However, the negatives of allowing Google's algorithms to determine your discoverability and placing their own interest ahead is something that would concern me as well.

Another interesting part of this is how politics are playing a part. According to the article, technology executives and politicians in Berlin and Paris have encouraged the head of the commission to take a "hard line on the case". Compounding this is the recent US withdrawal from the Paris climate accord, exacerbating the bad blood according to the article.

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