Paul Stockham's Blog
"Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness"

Google are Big News

Google are big news at the moment! The FT just ran a series of articles about some antitrust cases; we have had the hacking story from China, Google Buzz and the turf war with Bing. It seems they are never out of the news at the moment.

The European Commission have received three antitrust complaints against Google from companies who claim they have not been fairly positioned in Google search results. Google’s response seems to be the Algorithm decides the ranking position, but what makes it more interesting is that two of the three have Microsoft connections!

Ciao is a consumer review site, which is part of Bing and owned by Microsoft and Foundem is a vertical search company which is a member of a group partially funded by Microsoft. The third complainant eJustice is a French legal site without any obvious Microsoft connection!

The hacking story reads like something from a James Bond movie, with some sources saying the hacking reached a level of sophistication not normally seen outside Government Defence circles! Again there is a Microsoft angle on the story with the company admitting some responsibility on their own blog: –

“Based upon our investigations, we have determined that Internet Explorer was one of the vectors used in targeted and sophisticated attacks against Google and possibly other corporate networks,” said Microsoft’s director of security response Mike Reavey in the post.

Also with China’s reputation for cloning or copying products – what are the odds we see a Chinese Google look a like at some point in the near future?

Google Buzz has certainly lived up to its name although a lot of the early buzz has been fears of what it may do to Twitter and Facebook. Google are playing this down and claiming it is filling a niche in social media. We will see.

Google still have around 65% of the search market although Bing made some inroads in January 2010 increasing their market share by 0.6% to 11.3%. Now, I have read a number of comparisons between the two and Bing are getting some favourable comments, but to a large extent it seems this battle is being decided by who is the default search engine.

So as people change to Windows 7 they automatically get Bing as their search engine – you would have to figure that this will play in Bing’s favour over time, wouldn’t you? Microsoft’s style has always been to cross sell and offer their own alternative to any successful competitor, but I don’t expect we will all be “Googling” on Bing for some time yet!

So as I say Google are certainly making news at the moment. I guess we shouldn’t be too surprised; search is now a big part of our everyday lives. We now make 2 billion searches per day through Google and last year they made around $2 billion net income doing this, so we should expect them to make some noise.

What is also apparent is that most of the Google news has a Microsoft thread running through it – coincidence? You decide!

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