EU Leans Toward “Labeling” To Resolve Antitrust Claims Against Google

google-eu-featured Those hoping for aggressive regulation or changes in the way Google conducts its search business in Europe will likely be disappointed. A new interview with EU Competition Commissioner Joaquín Almunia hints at settlement proposals and remedies now being considered in the Google antitrust case. And, they will probably look a lot like what came out of the FTC earlier this year. The interview, published in a New York Times article triggered by the filing of a new antitrust complaint over Android, offers some insights into the state of settlement negotiations between Europe and Google. The [...]

Google’s Mapping Contest In India Creates Uproar

india-flag-map Google has run up against some of India's restrictive laws in the past, most notably in the context of vague and expansive censorship rules for content and search results. A new episode involves a crowdsourced mapping contest run by the company to obtain data for Google Maps. According to the Wall Street Journal (WSJ), Google ran a "Mapathon" contest in February and March offering prizes in exchange for information about local places, facilities and businesses: The Internet company invited amateur mappers as well as mapping enthusiasts to add local information through its Google Map Make [...]

Yes, Google Says It’s Having Problems Listing iTunes Preview Pages

Apple Google Logos Yes, it is harder to find pages to iTunes apps in Google. But no, the company says, it's not part of some nefarious plot. Rather, Google's having technical problems gathering iTunes Preview pages, an issue it's working to solve. Google has confirmed the issue, saying: We've been having some issues fetching pages from the iTunes web servers, and as a result some people may have had problems finding iTunes apps in search easily. We're working with the team there to ensure search users can find what they're looking for. In particular, the head of Google's web spam team Matt Cutts, said on Tw [...]

It’s Official: Google Settles “WiSpy” Case For $7 Million

google-wifi-streetview As reported last week, Google has formally settled the so-called "WiSpy" case with 30 US state Attorneys General for $7 million. The agreement also contains some other non-monetary provisions that are, frankly, more meaningful. The investigation began in 2010 concerning unauthorized collection of private emails and other "payload" data by Google Street View vehicles. The US Federal Communications Commission concluded its own investigation of the affair with no finding of liability against Google. As mentioned, the $7 million settlement is insignificant for Google. However, the press rel [...]

Google Experimenting With Search-History “Topics” In Google Now Cards

Google search app for Android Google Operating System reports on a potentially new feature for Google Now (Android 4.1 and higher). None of us here could duplicate it. As described, it clusters users' search histories into topics that can easily be searched again (see image below "explore more"). I've noticed versions of this on my Android devices in the past. For example, I was looking for hotels in Montreal, Canada, and a Google Now card later encouraged me to search more for the same information. It's a "passive" way to get people to initiate more mobile search queries. Below is a topic image page (via GOS). Repor [...]

Google Now Adds Movies, College Sports, Homescreen Widget

google-now-featured Yesterday Google issued an update of its search app for Android. Among the modest changes were expanded Google Now content and functionality. For those devices running Android 4.1 (Jelly Bean) or higher, which is now about 13.6 percent of handsets, Google Now now includes movie ratings from Rotten Tomatoes and movie passes from Fandango. (Apple's Siri recently added the ability to buy movie tickets through Fandango.) For those in the market for a home, real-estate listings from Zillow will now appear. College sports scores will soon show up as well. Finally, users can add a Google Now wi [...]

FairSearch Member Kayak: Google Travel Search Has Had “No Impact On Our Business”

kayak logo In the roughly two years since Google launched flight search and hotel search, Kayak CEO Steve Hafner says, "We haven't seen any impact on our business." This statement, made in a CNBC interview, would appear to directly contradict the central claim of the lobbying group to which Kayak belongs, The central claim is that there's "growing evidence that Google is abusing its search monopoly to thwart competition." FairSearch says that Google's ability to "send traffic to its own [vertical] properties," such as flight search or hotel search, gives the company an unfair advantage [...]

Seeking To Pressure Regulators, FairSearch Announces New Members, Issues Missive Seeking “Meaningful” Remedies

FairSearch logo If I were a betting person I'd say that the European Commission and FTC antitrust investigations against Google will wrap up without any major "structural" changes or dramatic new rules imposed on the company. Indeed there were premature reports that Google had already settled with the EU. An announcement of some sort is imminent I suspect. In the US a number of legal scholars (both independent and sponsored by Google) have come forward to argue that under the current antitrust framework Google would potentially win any case brought by the feds. In addition a new FTC nominee disfavors antit [...]

Confirmed: Amazon’s New Kindle Fire Tablets To Use Bing As Default Search Engine

bing logo Ubergizmo is reporting that Bing (not Google) will be the default search engine for the Amazon browser on the new Kindle tablets.  (We were able to confirm this with Microsoft directly earlier this evening.) The original Kindle Fire used Google. Amazon is likely to sell several million of these new devices given their aggressive pricing (partly subsidized by ads). If so, that could provide a boost to Bing, especially in a mobile/quasi-mobile context. There are several alternative browsers currently available for Kindle Fire/HD including Opera, Maxthon and Dolphin. I would anticipate tha [...]

Google Says It Has A Million Public Transit Schedules, Adds Transit Features In Android Maps

Google Maps (and related data) continues to be strategic for the company. On Android Google Maps & Navigation are one of the big differentiators (at least until Q4) between the Google OS and iOS. Today Google announced several updates and upgrades for the public transit features on Maps (version 6.10). In addition, Google now reports that it has "schedules for more than one million public transit stops worldwide." With the new release of Maps for Android the company said it was making transit features easier to use: "You can select a specific mode of public transportation (train, [...]

Google Introduces Redesigned Mobile Search Experience, “Google Now” And Siri-Like Assistant

Screen shot 2012-06-27 at 1.14.06 PM Buried among the sexy hardware announcements and hair-raising Google Glass demo this morning were some fairly radical changes to the Google search experience for mobile devices. To date Google has been compensating for the awkwardness of the PC SERP on smartphones with voice search and other marginal "fixes." Today it took a potentially major step toward offering a distinct search experience designed specifically for mobile that may bury the "old" mobile SERP. The familiar smartphone mobile SERP is still there and probably will continue to be shown in a majority of cases. But these new e [...]

Google Maps’ Mobile Ads Format Gets A Refresh

New Experience Google has revamped its format for AdWords that display within Maps for Mobile, in an effort to make them work more efficiently for smartphone users and advertisers. As a part of the new format, which will be made available to newer versions of Android phones today, calls to action like "get directions" and "click to call" are more prominent and clickable in more places. Additionally, a new "hyperlocal marker" shows the user how far the advertiser's business location is from where they are. Interestingly, clicking on the ad now takes the user to a framed version of the advertiser's w [...]

Why Apple Is Going “Containment” Not “Thermonuclear” Against Google In iOS 6

apple-google-featured I keep hearing people talking about Apple finally going "thermonuclear" on Google with the forthcoming iOS 6 mobile operating system. No, it hasn't. In fact, there are good reasons why it can't, though Apple is certainly exercising a much more subtle and smart containment strategy. Themonuclearly Renewing With Google The thermonuclear reference comes from the Steve Jobs biography written by Walter Isaacson, where Jobs was so upset about Google's Android operating system -- and the theft from Apple that he viewed it to be -- that he said to Issacson in early 2010: I’m going to destroy Andr [...]

More (Local) Searches Coming From iOS Than Android — Study

Ad network Chitika, which regularly publishes findings from activity on its network, has released some data that show owners of iPhones and iPads search more than Android owners. This is a bit counter-intuitive and unexpected, given how prominent search and the search box are on the homescreen of most Android handsets and how deeply integrated Google is into that experience. Chitika "looked at hundreds of millions of impressions between April 8 and 14 and broke down traffic depending on operating system, search traffic, and the type of search query." The company also broke out local searche [...]

Looking Back At Larry Page’s First Year At Google’s Helm

google-spider-web-featured Two articles appeared today that reflect on the first year of Larry Page's return to the CEO role at Google. Bloomberg's Brad Stone does a Q&A with Page in which he discusses the larger competitive challenges Google faces and some of his management philosophy. The other piece is from Wired writer Steven Levy and is a bit of a counterpoint to the mostly upbeat Bloomberg story. Stone declines to query Page about privacy, antitrust and Google's myriad problems with regulators and governments around the world. In his answers about a range of issues, Page is confident and seemingly reflectiv [...]

Meet Project Glass: Google’s Siri For Your Eyes

google-glasses-featured We've heard rumors that Google was working on "augmented reality" eyeglasses that would display information relevant to wearers as they go through their daily routine. Now Google itself has confirmed this as Project Glass, complete with a video of what they might be able to do. The video is pretty cool. You see someone starting their day, getting information about subway closures, walking directions with heads-up display of turns to take, speaking to the glasses to make a reminder to buy concert tickets, speaking to take a picture, taking a phone call with video and more. Watch it yourself [...]

Report: Google Makes $10 Per Android User Per Year

android-money-dollars-featured An analysis performed by UK publication The Guardian on court documents filed in the patent litigation between Google and Oracle suggests that Google has made less on Android handsets than from the iPhone. The court documents are part of a settlement proposal filed in the case. There's no overt discussion of revenues in the documents. Instead there are some potential damages figures from which The Guardian has extrapolated Google revenue numbers. NOTE: See our own follow-up analysis, No, Google Doesn’t Make Four Times More Off The iPhone Vs. Android The publication reports "Android genera [...]

Survey: 87 Percent Of iPhone 4S Owners Use Siri Monthly

apple-logo Siri is popular but its usage is limited, according new survey research from Parks Associates. The firm surveyed 482 iPhone 4S owners and asked about their usage of the virtual assistant. High level findings from the survey were published today by the Wall Street Journal. Parks Associates found the following: 87 percent iPhone 4S owners use Siri at least monthly Roughly one third of iPhone 4S owners use Siri "almost daily" Initiating calls and texts were the most common Siri-related activities 26 percent use Siri to send email daily More "advanced" functions such as calendaring [...]

Rumor: Apple To Add Baidu To iPhone Search Options

There are reports coming out of China that Apple will add Baidu as a default search option on iOS. The angle some are taking argues this is further evidence of Apple's efforts to marginalize Google on iOS. However a better explanation is that it's a rational move to offer access to China's largest search engine. Baidu has greater than 80 percent search market share in China. If accurate Apple's decision is very analogous to when the company introduced Yahoo and Bing as default search options on the iPhone a couple of years ago. Indeed, it would be strange for Apple to exclude China's most p [...]

Google Faces “Innovator’s Dilemma” As It Prepares Response To Siri

Screen shot 2012-03-05 at 7.09.53 AM We've heard the search-related mantra "answers not links" so many times over the past few years that it sounds like a cliche. However in a mobile context the phrase has more meaning: a page of Google search results is ill-suited to the mobile use case. While Google has done many things to make it easier to get data and queries into smartphones with voice search, visual search, specialized apps and Google Instant the company still doesn't deliver "answers." It delivers a mobile-optimized version of its PC experience. Google now faces an "innovator's dilemma" of sorts as it seeks to adapt [...]

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