Research In India Claims To Show How Search Rankings “Could” Impact Elections

mobile seo myths Psychologist and researcher Robert Epstein has published research (embedded below) that he contends shows how search rankings "have the potential to profoundly influence voters without them noticing the impact." He calls this capacity the "Search Engine Manipulation Effect" or "SEME." The study tested how search rankings affected the perceptions and candidate preferences of "2,000 undecided voters throughout India." India just concluded national elections. The research found that rankings could affect undecided voter opinion significantly: "votes in India can easily be pushed toward one [...]


Holi Google Logo Celebrates India’s Festival Of Colors On Google India’s Homepage

Holi Google logo2 While many will see a St. Patrick's Day logo on Google's homepage today, Google India users will see a Holi logo to mark India's spring festival of colors. Celebrating the arrival of spring, Holi events include a Holika bonfire on the eve of the holiday with singing and dancing. Holi festivals are hosted openly in the streets with everyone dousing each other in a rainbow of colors, using dry powder or water guns and water balloons filled with colored-water. The actual date of Holi varies every year as it coincides with the approach of the vernal equinox, but usually takes place in Ma [...]


EU Settlement Nearly Done, Google Antitrust Drama Shifts To India

Google legal Although the Google antitrust settlement in Europe isn't final it appears we're in the final minutes of the final act. There still may be a surprise or two in store but we mostly know how this story is going to end. Now it appears the Google antitrust drama is shifting to India, where an antitrust investigation against the company is ongoing. According to a report in the Times of India, that country's competition authority, the Competition Commission of India (CCI), has the power to impose a fine of up 10 percent annual revenues, averaged over a three year period. That could mean up t [...]


Google Publishes Full Text Of EU Antitrust Agreement

google-eu-featured This afternoon on its European Blog, Google's General Counsel Kent Walker exposed the full text of the company's third-proposed and tentatively accepted antitrust settlement agreement with European Competition Commissioner Joaquin Almunia. Almunia previously declined to make the full agreement available. The document, dated January 31, 2014, is quite long (embedded below) and contains extensive examples of how search results will look in Europe under the new agreement. There are the four areas that will see change or modifications, as summarized by Walker in his post: Changes to our A [...]


It’s Done: Google Settles Search Antitrust Case In Europe

Google EU Roughly a year after Google settled an antitrust investigation with the US Federal Trade Commission, Bloomberg is reporting that Google and the European Commission have reached a final settlement that would end the regulator's antitrust search investigation against the company. According to the report, "Google will escape fines or any finding by regulators that it may have discriminated against competing search sites." Google similarly escaped any significant fines or penalties in the US investigation. The heart of the controversy as it has evolved -- and the core of the settlement -- is [...]


Report: Google Close (Again) To EU Antitrust Settlement

Google EU The third time may be the charm. According to Reuters Google is (once again) "close to settling a three-year antitrust probe by European regulators after it offered 'much better' concessions" to the European Commission (EC). However Google has been here before. Two previous antitrust settlements were strenuously opposed and thus defeated by Google critics and competitors. As part of that lobbying campaign several sponsored studies were issued, which uniformly found the core of Google's settlement proposals -- prominently showing links to rivals' results -- would have little or no impact on [...]


Israel Wants To Tax Google To Support Local Content Publishers

Google Israel A new bill making its way to Israel’s parliament (the Knesset) would assess a tax of 7 percent on search engine ad revenues to subsidize local content publishers. The story was reported in the Financial Times. While it's not explicit or exclusive to any individual company, the bill has been nicknamed the “Google Law." This parallels legislative efforts in multiple countries where Google is blamed for eroding or undermining various domestic industries, typically journalism and newspaper publishing. So far, however, Google and its rivals have managed to escape the imposition of such levie [...]


German Courts Follow French Ruling & Order Google To Block Max Mosley Images In Search Results

Google Europe Google has lost another case in the Max Mosley lawsuit, this time in Germany. According to a Reuter's report, a German court has ruled Google is responsible for distributing scandalous pictures of the former Formula One president, and is ordering the search engine to block links to the images from appearing in search results. The lawsuit stems from a 2008 case Mosley won against the British tabloid News of the World for publishing photos of Mosley engaged in a sex party with prostitutes. Last year, Mosley filed a lawsuit against Google in France and Germany to keep the images from appearing [...]


EU Wants More Search Concessions, Google Defies French Authority

Google Europe Round and round she goes. The European Commission is seeking a final round of "concessions" from Google in an 11th hour effort to settle potential antitrust claims against the company. EU Competition Commissioner Joaquin Almunia made public statements asserting that Google needs to deliver additional, revised proposals within weeks to avoid a formal antitrust proceeding. What we have now is a kind of high stakes game of chicken. For well over a year there has been a very public back and forth between Google, the European Commission and Google's rivals, who object to the various proposals [...]


Ryanair CEO Claims Airline Is Working With Google On A Flight Search & Comparison Tool

google-flight-travel-featured In an interview published by Irish Independent, Irish airlines Ryanair CEO Michael O'Leary claims his airline has entered a partnership with Google, and is providing the search engine with flight pricing to help build a travel search and comparison tool. "We'll be sharing the Ryanair pricing through all of the Google outlets, so when you go in, there'll be route selections, cheapest prices and so on," said O'Leary, "Google [is] developing a price-comparison thing themselves." O'Leary explained Google would not be charging Ryanair for listing its flight information: Because Google, being [...]


Simone De Beauvoir Google Logo Has Come To Stay In A Number Of Countries, Just Not The US

simone-de-beauvoirs-106th-birthday google logo A number of Google international homepages are celebrating feminist writer Simone de Beauvoir's 106th birthday with a Beauvoir-inspired Google logo, but there's no sign of The Second Sex author on Google's US homepage. The Simone de Beauvoir Google logo includes a head shot of the author against a Parisian backdrop, and is featured on several international Google sites, including Google France, Google UK, Google Germany, Google Spain, Google Brazil and Google Africa. Born Simone Lucie Ernestine Marie Bertrand de Beauvoir in Paris on January 9, 1908, Beauvoir studied philosophy at the Sor [...]


EU: Google Antitrust Concessions “Unacceptable” As Second Study Condemns “Rival Links”

google-eu-featured European Union competition commissioner Joaquin Almunia announced Friday in a Spanish radio interview that Google's second round of concessions in its current antitrust settlement proposal were "unacceptable." The main obstacle to settlement is still Google's treatment of competitors and its "own content" in "vertical search" results. Almunia was directly involved in negotiating the original settlement proposal with Google, which offered to put links to competitors' sites in a privileged position in search results. He seemed initially (and perhaps naively) surprised when it was almost imme [...]


Canada’s Competition Bureau Escalates Google Antitrust Investigation

Google legal Canada’s Competition Bureau (CCB) has indicated that it will proceed with a formal antitrust investigation against Google. The CCB had been engaged in a preliminary inquiry. A new CCB court filing requests a range of documents that will potentially show, according to the CCB, Google's alleged abuse of market power and anti-competitive behavior in Canada. The claims in the investigation are similar to those raised by the now concluded FTC investigation and the current European Commission investigation. The Financial Post in Canada first reported the action by the CCB. The filing assert [...]


Sponsored Study Argues Google’s “Rival Links” Don’t Drive Enough CTRs To Rivals

Google EU flag Google's original antitrust settlement proposal, negotiated with the European Commission, was attacked by Google competitors and critics as being a token concession to competition. Anti-Google lobbying group FairSearch.org sponsored a consumer study that argued Google's presentation of three “rival links” to competitors in search results did little to drive traffic to competitors' websites. In September Google presented a second settlement proposal that made new or additional concessions. The second proposal was immediately attacked as well. Now a second FairSearch-sponsored research [...]


French Court Orders Google, ISPs To Block Or Delist Video Sites

Google Europe The High Court of Paris recently decided that French ISPs and search engines (Google, Yahoo and Bing) must completely block access or remove 16 copyright-infringing video sites from their indexes and search results. The case was originally filed in 2011. The successful plaintiffs were several France-based film and TV trade associations, including L’Association des Producteurs de Cinéma and La Fédération Nationale des Distributeurs de Films. These groups represented a range of producer interests including American film studios. Below are the domains that Google et al must now complet [...]


European Publishers File New Antitrust Complaints Over Google News & Images

t-google-images-1312982585 European newspapers, magazines and photographers are not happy with Google and how their content and images are shown in the Google search results. IDG News reports Google was slapped with a new antitrust complaint over Google Images. EMMA wrote that newspapers and magazines are "extremely concerned by the Commission’s on-going assessment of the new set of commitments proposed by Google as part of the EU competition investigation." Google Image Search Complaint The Center of the Picture Industry, CEPIC, is saying that Google uses images without the rights of the copyright holders consen [...]


Google To Get EU “Watchdog” As Part Of Antitrust Settlement

google-eu-featured The New York Times is reporting that as part of the anticipated antitrust settlement in Europe Google is likely to be subject to a "watchdog" overseer. This role is explained in a "96-page [job] description" according to the paper: Among the details of the job: The title is monitoring trustee. And although the salary remains unknown, the taker will be paid by Google. In addition, the chosen candidate cannot have any other links to Google during the five-year term or for three more years after the job comes to an end. Google could hold the person liable for disclosing confidential information. [...]


French Court Orders Google To Remove Max Mosley Images From Search Engine Results

Google logo After making a public plea for the European courts to dismiss a lawsuit filed by former Formula One president Max Mosley, Google found out today the French court has ruled in favor of Mosley and is forcing the search engine to censure search results. According to a report on Reuters.com, the French court has ordered Google to, "Remove and cease, for a period of five years beginning two months after this decision, the appearance of nine images identified by Max Mosley in the Google Images search engine results." To keep the images in question from showing up in search results, Google says it [...]


New Google Antitrust Offer A “Significant Improvement” Says EU

Google Europe After Google's competitors loudly complained about the company's antitrust settlement proposal, which displayed three "rival links" to alternative' search results, European Competition Commissioner Joaquin Almunia said it would take new "concessions" for Google to successfully settle its antitrust case with Europe. Google has now reportedly made those concessions. Almunia characterized Google's updated settlement offer, submitted last month, as a "significant improvement." According to a Reuters report, "Almunia told lawmakers in the European Parliament he believed the new offer made i [...]


Shake Up In Chinese Search Market As Engines Merge

Sogou logo In a move somewhat reminiscent of the back end merger of Yahoo and Microsoft's search engines, the number three and four search sites in China are set to combine assets and cross-promote in a nearly $450 million deal writes ZDNet. The deal involves Chinese online portal Tencent's Soso search engine and Sohu's Sogou. The latter is number three and while Soso is number four in the Chinese search market. Google is number five. Qihoo 360 technology company's search engine (So.com) has moved into second place after Baidu. Amazingly the Qihoo search engine only launched in Q3 of last year. The [...]


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