Google is fine, not fined

Yup, that’s me in denial. I know that there will be an appeal and it is time for the EU to actually get a grip on certain elements. In this matter I do speak with some expert authority as I have been part of the Google AdWords teams (not employed by Google though). The article ‘Google fined record €2.4bn by EU over search engine results‘ (at https://www.theguardian.com/business/2017/jun/27/google-braces-for-record-breaking-1bn-fine-from-eu) is a clear article. Daniel Boffey gives us the facts of the case, which is what we were supposed to read and get. Yet there is another side to it all and I think the people forgot just how terribly bad the others are. So when I read: “By artificially and illegally promoting its own price comparison service in searches, Google denied both its consumers real choice and rival firms the ability to compete on a level playing field, European regulators said“, so let’s start with this one and compare it to the mother of all ….. (read: Bing). First of all, there is no ‘Shopping’ tab. So there is that! If I go into the accursed browser of them (read: Internet Explorer), I get loads of unwanted results. In light of the last few days I had to enter ‘Grenfell .co.uk‘ a few times and guess what, I get “Visit Grenfell, Heart of Weddin Shire” in my top results, a .org.au site. The place is in NSW. Did I ask for that? Google gives a perfectly fine result. Now, I am not including the top ads as the advertisers can bid for whatever solution they want to capture. So let’s have a look at Bing ads. First I can choose to be visible in Aussie or Kiwi land, I can be visible globally or I can look at specific locations. So how do you appeal to the Australian and Scandinavian markets? Oh, and when you see the Bing system, it is flawed, yet it uses all the Google AdWords terms and phrases, callout extensions, snippets. They didn’t even bother to give them ‘original’ Bing names. And I still can’t see a way to target nations. So when we see a copy to this extent, we see the first evidence that Google made a system that a small time grocery shop like Microsoft cannot replicate at present. We can argue that the user interface is a little friendlier for some, but it is lacking in several ways and soon, when they are forced to overhaul, you get a new system to learn. So when the racer (Micro$oft) is coming in an Edsel and is up against a Jaguar XJ220, is it dominance by manipulating the race, or should the crying contender considered coming in an actual car?

Next, when I read ‘rival firms the ability to compete on a level playing field’, should the EU regulator consider that the other player does not have a shopping tab, the other players has a lacking advertisement management system that require massive overbidding to get there? Then we get the change history. I cannot see specifics like ‘pausing a campaign‘, this seems like a really important item to show, for the most ALL changes are important and the user is not shown several of them.

In the end, each provider will have its own system; it is just massively unsettling on how this system ‘mimics’ Google AdWords. Yet this is only the beginning.

The quote “The commission’s decision, following a seven-year probe into Google’s dominance in searches and smartphones, suggests the company may need to fundamentally rethink the way it operates. It is also now liable to face civil actions for damages by any person or business affected by its anti-competitive behaviour” really got me started. So, if we go back to 2010, we see the BBC (at http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/business/8174763.stm) give us “Microsoft’s Bing search engine will power the Yahoo website and Yahoo will in turn become the advertising sales team for Microsoft’s online offering. Yahoo has been struggling to make profits in recent years. But last year it rebuffed several takeover bids from Microsoft in an attempt to go it alone” in addition there is “Microsoft boss Steve Ballmer said the 10-year deal would provide Microsoft’s Bing search engine with the necessary scale to compete“. Now he might well be the 22nd richest person on the planet, yet I wonder how he got there. We have known that the Yahoo system has been flawed for a long time, I was for a long time a Yahoo fan, I kept my account for the longest of times and even when Google was winning the race, I remained a loyal Yahoo fan. It got me what I needed. Yet over time (2006-2009) Yahoo kept on lagging more and more and the Tim Weber, the Business editor of the BBC News website stated it the clearest: “Yahoo is bowing to the inevitable. It simply had neither the resources nor the focus to win the technological arms race for search supremacy“. There is no shame here, Yahoo was not number one. So as we now realise that the Bing Search engine is running on a flawed chassis, how will that impact the consumer? Having a generic chassis is fine, yet you lose against the chassis of a Bentley Continental. Why? Because the designer was more specific with the Bentley, it was specific! As Bentley states: “By bringing the Speed models 10mm closer to the ground, Bentley’s chassis engineering team laid the foundation for an even sportier driving experience. To do so they changed the springs, dampers, anti-roll bars and suspension bushes. The result is improved body control under hard cornering, together with greater agility“, one element influences the other, and the same applies to online shopping, which gets us back to Steve Ballmer. His quote to the BBC “Through this agreement with Yahoo, we will create more innovation in search, better value for advertisers, and real consumer choice in a market currently dominated by a single company“, is that so? You see, in 2009 we already knew that non-Google algorithms were flawed. It wasn’t bad, there was the clear indication that the Google algorithms were much better, these algorithms were studies at universities around the world (also at the one I attended), the PageRank as Stanford University developed it was almost a generation ahead of the rest and when the others realised that presentations and boasts didn’t get the consumer anywhere (I attended a few of those too), they lost the race. The other players were all about the corporations and getting them online, getting the ‘path build’ so that the people will buy. Yet Google did exactly the opposite they wondered what the consumer needed and tended to that part, which won them the race and it got transferred into the Advertisement dimension as such. Here too we see the failing and the BBC published it in 2009. So the second quote “Microsoft and Yahoo know there’s so much more that search could be. This agreement gives us the scale and resources to create the future of search“, well that sounds nice and all marketed, yet, the shown truth was that at this point, their formula was flawed, Yahoo was losing traction and market share on a daily basis and what future? The Bing system currently looks like a ripped of copy (a not so great one) of the Google AdWords system, so how is there any consideration of ‘the ability to compete on a level playing field‘? In my view the three large players all had their own system and the numbers two and three were not able to keep up. So is this the case (as the EU regulator calls it) of “by promoting its own comparison shopping service in its search results, and demoting those of competitors“, or is there a clear growing case that the EU regulator does not comprehend that the algorithm is everything and the others never quite comprehended the extend of the superiority of the Google ranks? Is Google demoting others, or are the others negating elements that impact the conclusion? In car terms, if the Google car is the only one using Nitro, whilst the use of Nitro is perfectly legal (in this case). In addition, we see in 2015 ‘Microsoft loses exclusivity in shaken up Yahoo search deal‘ as well as “Microsoft will continue to provide search results for Yahoo, but in a reduced capacity. The two have renegotiated the 2009 agreement that saw Redmond become the exclusive provider of search results for a company that was once known for its own search services. This came amid speculation that Yahoo would try to end the agreement entirely“, so not only are they on a flawed system, they cannot agree on how to proceed as friends. So why would anyone continue on a limited system that does not go everywhere? In addition in April 2015 we learn “The other major change is that Microsoft will now become the exclusive salesforce for ads delivered by Microsoft’s Bing Ads platform, while Yahoo will do the same for its Gemini ads platform“, So Yahoo is cutting its sales team whilst Microsoft has to grow a new one, meaning that the customers have to deal with two systems now. In addition, they are now dealing with companies having to cope with a brain drain. Still, how related are these factors?

I personally see them as linked. One will influence the other, whilst changing the car chassis to something much faster will impact suspension and wheels, we see a generalised article (at no fault to the Guardian or the writer), yet I want to see the evidence the EU regulator has, I have been searching for the case notes and so far no luck. Yet in my mind, as I see the issues that those involves on the EU regulator side d not really comprehend the technology. This can be gotten from “According to an analysis of around 1.7bn search queries, Google’s search algorithm systematically was consistently giving prominent placement to its own comparison shopping service to the detriment of rival services“, where is that evidence? Analyses are the results of the applied algorithm (when it is done correct) and in this the advertiser is still the element not begotten. I have seen clients willing to bid through the roof for one keyword, whilst today, I notice that some of the elements of the Bing Ads do not support certain parts, so that means that my results will be impacted for no less than 10%-20% on the same bidding, so is it ‘demoting results of competitors‘, or is the competitor system flawed and it requires bids that are 20% higher just to remain competitive? And if I can already state that there are dodgy findings based on the information shown, how valid is the EU regulation findings and more important, where else did they lack ‘wisdom’?

There are references to AdSense and more important the issue they have, yet when we consider that the EU is all about corporations, these places want facilitation and as they ignored AdSense, that solutions started to get traction via bloggers and information providers. So when we see: “In a second investigation into AdSense, a Google service that allows websites to run targeted ads, the commission is concerned that Google has reduced choice by preventing sites from sourcing search ads from competitors“. Is that so? The larger publishing houses like VNU (well over 50 magazines and their related sites), so in 2005, Google got new clients and as such grew a business. And that was just in the Netherlands. Now those just yanking in a corner, trying to present systems they did not have 4 years later, and they are now crying foul?

There are leagues of comparison sites. One quote I really liked was “Google is like the person that has it all together but is too conservative sometimes, and Bing is like the party friend who is open to anything but is a hot mess”. Another quote is from 2016: “With Bing Ads though, you can only show your ads on the Content Network if you’re targeting the entire US”. So an issue of targeting shown in 2016, an issue that Google AdWords did not have a year earlier. This is important because if you cannot target the right people, the right population, you cannot be competitive. This relates to the system and the EU-regulators, because a seven year ‘investigation’ shows that a year ago, the other players were still lagging against Google, in addition, when we read in the Guardian article: “the EU regulator is further investigating how else the company may have abused its position, specifically in its provision of maps, images and information on local services”, we need to realise that when we relate to cars, the other players are confined to technology of 1989 whilst Google has the Williams F1 FW40 – 2017. The difference is big and getting bigger. It is more than technology, whilst Microsoft is giving the people some PowerPoint driven speech on retention of staff, something that IBM might have given the year before, Google is boosting mental powers and pushing the envelope of technology. Whilst Bing maps exist, they merely show why we needed to look at the map in Google. This is the game, Microsoft is merely showing most people why we prefer to watch them on Google and it goes beyond maps, beyond shopping. As I personally see it, Microsoft is pushing whatever they can to boost Azure cloud. IBM is pushing in every direction to get traction on Watson. Google is pushing every solution on its own merit; that basic difference is why the others cannot keep up (that’s just a personal speculative view). I noticed a final piece of ‘evidence’ in a marketing style picture, which I am adding below. So consider the quote ’51 million unique searchers on the Yahoo! Bing Network do not use GOOGLE’, so consider the fact of those trying to address those 51 million, whilst they could be addressing 3.5 billion searchers.

The business sector wants results, not proclaimed concepts of things to come. Microsoft is still showing that flaw with their new Consoles and the upcoming Scorpio system (Xbox One X), users want storage, not streaming issues. They lost a gaming market that was almost on equal term with Sony (Xbox 360-PlayStation 3), to a situation where it now has a mere 16% market of the Sony market and that is about to drop further still as Nintendo is close to surpassing Microsoft too.

There is always a niche market (many people), who want to kick the biggest player in town, I get that. Yet at present the issues shown and as far as I get the technology, I feel that the EU regulators are failing in a bad way. I might be wrong here and If I get the entire commission papers and if issues are found, I will update this article as I am all about informing people as good and as correct as possible. Yet the one element that is most funny, is that when I open up Internet Explorer and I type in ‘Buy a Washing Machine‘ Bing gives me 8 options, 7 from David Jones and 1 from Snowys outdoors, which is a portable one and looks like a cement mixer. So when was the last time you went to David Jones to watch a washing machine? In Google Chrome I get 6 models on the right side, with 3 from Harvey Norman, 2 from the Good Guys and one from Betta, and that is before I press the shopping tab, so can we initially conclude that Micro$oft has a few issues running at present? Oh and the Google edition gives me models from $345 to $629, Bing prices were $70 for the portable one and the rest were $499-$1499.

This is not on how good one or the other is, this is how valid the EU regulator findings were and so far, I have several questions in that regard. Now, I will be the last one keeping governments from getting large corporations to pay taxation, yet that part is set in the tax laws, not in EU-antitrust. As mentioned the searchers before, I wonder whether the EU regulators are facilitating for players who seem more and more clueless in a field of technology that is passing them by on the left and the right side of the highway called, the ‘Internet Of Things’.

From my point of view Google is doing just fine!

The EU regulator? Well we have several questions for that EU department.

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1 Comment

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One response to “Google is fine, not fined

  1. Pingback: Confirmation on Arrival | Lawrence van Rijn - Law Lord to be

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