The Federal Trade Commission has finally got Google chairman Eric Schmidt to testify in September in a hearing that will address fundamental questions of business operations (of Google) rather than merely legal issues. The federal regulators will investigate into the allegations that the Internet giant has abused its dominance in Web-search advertising.
Instant answers. New sources of knowledge. Powerful tools-all for free, the official Google blog said after confirming the FTC review of Google's Search Engine business. In just 13 years we've built a model that has changed the way people find answers and helped businesses both large and small create jobs and connect with new customers.
Google would get millions of testimonies from users for what they wrote about their services. Still Google is being punished, in the most significant tech-related antitrust case since Microsoft's, for being successful. The U.S. Department of Justice and state attorneys had grilled Microsoft for two decades over charges that the company abused its monopoly in operating systems to crush competition in other areas.
Bill Gates felt like he was being punished for being successful, and he never really recovered from the antitrust trial, said Michael Cusumano, Professor at MIT Sloan School of Management, who was involved in the trial. Microsoft has suffered as a result. They're not as aggressive. They definitely lost their edge.
The interesting thing about cyber space is that the entry barriers for new ventures are low and no force can practically stop a business from being successful. The FTC probe, when broken down into simple terms, makes Google responsible for what its search engine indexes and ranks, which indeed is reasonable.
What is unreasonable about the inquiry pertains to Google's search engine fairness. According to critics Google is operating a black-box, apparently lacking transparency or accountability, which establishes the relevance or/and irrelevance of internet content. Competitors accuse Google of exploiting its dominant market position to give preferential treatment to its own services while demoting rival sites.
So what exactly can be done to achieve fairness? Asking for a transparent search algorithm of the Google's Search engine wouldn't be the best thing as it merely makes it easier for spammers and scammers to wreak havoc in the search results.
Regulating Search, in any form can prove detrimental once implemented. Policymakers having a say on what to show and what not to in a Google search, would most definitely lead to an Internet 'cleanup' which isn't going to help the cause of neutrality or fairness.
A section is calling for right to reply button, which can be used to send user feedback regarding search results for a particular query. Though the demand sounds reasonable at its face value, the implementation can be quite tricky. How can a Search Engine trust individuals who come bundled with prejudices and non-neutral attitudes, to achieve neutral results? Wouldn't it be possible to launch a massive plan to tinker with the Search Engine by getting people to vote for or against a particular search result?
From a purely market centric attitude, Google cannot afford to mess with its search engine. If customers have chosen Google Search Engine over others, there should be a reason for it.
Leaving search results to the Page Ranks and algorithm sounds like a better idea when compared to handing over the search engine power to the whims and fancies of bureaucrats.