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Recent stories of Google in the News in relation to the Monopoly discussion:
There is a lot going on in the news about Google and it’s possible anti-competitive actions. The latest information and debate has surrounded around the launch of a bigger focus on Google Places. The new launch brings up a debate about whether or not Google is starting to promote their internal sites and content above the other sites providing the same information in their organic index. Some companies are certainly asking the question more frequently, “Is Google becoming a monopoly?”
The Wallstreet Journal recently published an article on this issue titled, “Rivals Say Google Plays Favorites.” In this article Amir Efrati interviews the chief executive officer of CityGrid Media, a unit of IAC/InteracticeCorp, Yelp CEO and TripAdivsor LLC Chief Executive Stephen Kaufer. In the interviews Jay Herratti of CityGrid Media says, “There is no denying that today Google is competing [with many websites] for the same Web traffic and the same advertising dollars.” Companies run by CityGrid Media are CitySearch, UrbanSpoon.com and InsiderPages.com.
Another quick interview with the Yelp CEO gave the blunt statement that Google “is trying to leverage its distribution power.” In comparing traffic from past analytic data the Trip Advisor Chief Executive said that traffic was down 10% this year when adjusted for seasonality. Mr. Kaufer said, “Google does seem to be chasing us and I don’t like it one bit.” Negotiations have been going on for months with Trip Advisor to help them come up with a better long term relationship in the travel discount business which is mainly fed by Google’s search engine.
Google’s statement on the whole issue was pretty direct. The sum of the issued statement was that Google is made for the users and not for websites. “We built Google for users, not websites, and our goal is to give users answers,” a Google spokeswoman said in a statement. “Sometimes the most useful answer isn’t ’10 blue links,’ but a map for an address query, or a series of images for a query like ‘pictures of Egyptian pyramids.’ We often provide these results in the form of ‘quick answers’ at the top of the page, because our users want a quick answer.”
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