EU files formal antitrust complaint against Google, begins separate Android investigation. Google responds

google

As expected, the EU has formally accused Google of abusing its dominant position in search to favor links to its own products over those offered by competitors. The complaint takes the form of a Statement of Objections: a formal method of announcing that it believes Google has acted illegally and that a full investigation is underway.

The Commission’s preliminary view is that such conduct infringes EU antitrust rules because it stifles competition and harms consumers. EU Commissioner Margrethe Vestager said that “Google now has the opportunity to convince the Commission to the contrary. However, if the investigation confirmed our concerns, Google would have to face the legal consequences and change the way it does business in Europe.”

Google has not wasted any time in attempting to convince the Commission otherwise, arguing in a blog post that the evidence shows that Google has not harmed traffic to competitor websites …  Read more

Leaked FTC report on Google’s business practices provides fascinating look behind the scenes

File photo shows people walking by a YouTube sign at the new Google office in Toronto

Half of a 2012 FTC report on Google’s business practices has been “inadvertently disclosed” in an open records request by the WSJ. Bizarrely, what was leaked was every other page of the report. MarketingLand’s Danny Sullivan has been busy reading the report and tweeting some of the things revealed by it.

The FTC eventually concluded that Google had not violated antitrust laws by favoring its own services over that of rivals, but found it was “a close call.”

Google did, for example, promote its own services in search results …  Read more

More information from FTC investigation reveals details of Google’s unfair search result tactics

google-shop

The Wall Street Journal today published a report highlighting an investigation done by the Federal Trade Commission that began in early 2013. The investigation centered around how Google skewed search results in an effort to promote its own services over competitors. Google, according to the FTC report, was accused of boosting its services for shopping, travel, and local businesses.

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Google says an open API is coming for Google Now cards

Google Now Nest

As reported on by The Next Web, Google at South by Southwest this weekend gave an interesting look at its plans for Google Now. Aparna Chennapragada, Google Now’s Director of Product Management, discussed Google’s personalized predictive data service and revealed some details regarding the future of the product. Chennapragada revealed that the company soon plans to launch an open API for Google Now that will allow third-party services to integrate it into their apps.

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Google testing new direct-to-business chat platform powered by Hangouts

Matt Gibstein on Twitter: %22Super interesting: @Google search now offering the ability to chat with local businesses (a la @Path Talk). http:::t.co:eksoBhZ6wk%22 2015-02-24 16-08-49

Google is testing an interesting new feature in search, as spotted by one Matt Gibstein on Twitter. As you can see in the above screenshot, there’s a small “Chat” icon next to the phone number of a business called “Dizengoff” in Philadelphia—and it looks like clicking it will launch you into a chat session directly with that business via Hangouts.  Read more

Judge dismisses class-action anti-trust suit against Google over Android & Search practices

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Last May, Google was hit with an class-action anti-trust lawsuit over several of its Android and Search practices. The case centered around the idea that Google was forcing Android handset manufacturers to make its search engine the default on all their devices, as well as pre-load apps such as YouTube. These practices, in turn, drove up the price of Android devices. Reuters reports this evening, however, that a federal judge has dismissed the lawsuit due to a lack of evidence from the plaintiffs.

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Google adding fact-checked health information to Knowledge Graph

health-info-animated

Google’s Knowledge Graph–which highlights fact-checked info at the top of certain types of search results–is being expanded to include health-related searches. So next time you want to check whether you have the common cold or a rare strain of Ebola, Google should provide the necessary reassurance.

Starting in the next few days, when you ask Google about common health conditions, you’ll start getting relevant medical facts right up front from the Knowledge Graph. We’ll show you typical symptoms and treatments, as well as details on how common the condition is—whether it’s critical, if it’s contagious, what ages it affects, and more. For some conditions you’ll also see high-quality illustrations from licensed medical illustrators.

Google says that the information is pulled from “high-quality medical sources across the web” and then checked by both its own doctors and others from the Mayo Clinic …  Read more

Twitter reaches new deal w/ Google to have tweets appear instantly in search results

Twitter Logo

Google and Twitter have allegedly come to an agreement for tweets to appear in search results, according to a report out of Bloomberg. During the first half of this year, tweets will begin to be visible in Google search results as soon as they are posted. As part of this deal, Bloomberg reports that Twitter is giving Google access to the entire stream of data posted and shared by its 284 million users. Previously, Google had to crawl Twitter’s site for information.

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Google trying to regain search marketshare from Yahoo w/ new messages for Firefox users

Late last year, Mozilla announced a joint five-year partnership with Yahoo that saw the default search engine in Firefox change from Google to Yahoo. It seemed unlikely at the time that Google would notice too big of a loss from that deal, but following contrary reports from earlier this month, Search Engine Land has also noticed that the company has started trying to convince Firefox users to switch to Google Search.

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Google now offering fast access to ticket purchases when searching bands and venues

Ticket

Performer search left, venue search right

 

If you search for a band or live venue, there’s a high chance it’s because you want to buy tickets for an upcoming show. Google is now making that easier by displaying upcoming events in the search results, with a direct link to purchase tickets.

It may take a few days to start seeing these results, as Google has just explained to webmasters for bands and venues the steps they need to take to ensure the information shows up in searches. They can either add a little HTML to their webpages, or install a widget that does it for them …  Read more