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Google Technology

The Need For Search Neutrality 203

wilsone8 writes "The New York Times includes an op-ed today arguing for Search Neutrality: 'Today, search engines like Google, Yahoo and Microsoft's new Bing have become the Internet's gatekeepers, and the crucial role they play in directing users to Web sites means they are now as essential a component of its infrastructure as the physical network itself. The F.C.C. needs to look beyond network neutrality and include search neutrality: the principle that search engines should have no editorial policies other than that their results be comprehensive, impartial and based solely on relevance.'"
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The Need For Search Neutrality

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  • Huh... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Ethanol-fueled ( 1125189 ) * on Tuesday December 29, 2009 @12:09AM (#30579000) Homepage Journal

    For three years, my company's vertical search and price-comparison site, Foundem, was effectively "disappeared" from the Internet in this way.

    Inability to explain why. Credibility of your article nullified. Samzenpus is trolling.

    Because of its domination of the global search market and ability to penalize competitors while placing its own services at the top of its search results, Google has a virtually unassailable competitive advantage.

    Google, a company based in America, has an autocomplete-style guessing algorithm which showed "Michelle Obama monkey" as the first choice when one typed in "michelle". It was so fair that they had to alter their own results and provide a disclaimer for the sake of political correctness. Apparently that wasn't even the first time they'd dealt with that situation. I'd say Google is fair until assholes like article author started bitching and moaning.

    Google's treatment of Foundem stifled our growth and constrained the development of our innovative search technology.

    Try teaming up with Metacrawler [], they are many times as powerful as google.

    Even AdWords and AdSense, the phenomenally efficient economic engines behind Google's meteoric success, are essentially borrowed inventions:

    Yeah, Toyota also borrowed the wheel from somebody. It's only a matter of time until they're sued in the East district of Texas.

    Will it embrace search neutrality as the logical extension to net neutrality that truly protects equal access to the Internet?

    I dunno, will you tell me exactly why you feel you've been shortchanged by Google?

    • New York Times... (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      ...talking about "comprehensive, impartial and based solely on relevance."?


      • by FictionPimp ( 712802 ) on Tuesday December 29, 2009 @01:25AM (#30579428) Homepage

        how can you determine relevance while being impartial?

        Well condoms are really not relevant to sexual education from a religious nut point of view. I mean sex eduction really just means telling them not to do it....

      • When you use a search engine, you can have only two of the following: comprehensive, impartial and relevant.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by khallow ( 566160 )

      I dunno, will you tell me exactly why you feel you've been shortchanged by Google?

      If it keeping moving, regulate it.

    • by khallow ( 566160 )
      Sorry, I screwed up the quote.

      If it keeps moving, regulate it.
    • Re: (Score:2, Redundant)

      by schon ( 31600 )

      Inability to explain why. Credibility of your article nullified.


      But to play Devil's advocate for a second, let's assume that the author's company really was legitimate, and really was being "discriminated against" (whether deliberately, or because someone at Google mistook them for search-engine spammers.)

      OK, so we have a legitimate company that has been "discriminated against". That still doesn't explain why Google needs to be regulated... there are thousands of scammers who aren't legitimate, and would *love* to be able to game search engines with impunity, m

      • Exactly (Score:5, Insightful)

        by headkase ( 533448 ) on Tuesday December 29, 2009 @12:42AM (#30579196)
        Google is a private company that lives and dies on the whims of the market. If they are incompetent and start to screw up their index, who knows it may happen, then people will leave. Geez, imagine if everything somebody didn't like had to be regulated? There is no law against being successful, well there shouldn't be unless you think like a loser. And furthermore, once you start regulating more than is absolutely necessary by "committee" you introduce inefficiencies into our wonderful free market system. Which may not be perfect but it gives us such an advantage that it would be stupid to throw it away over sour-grapes.
        • Just like... (Score:2, Insightful)

          by joppinkaru ( 1254112 )
          the US health care system. We need *less* regulation...
          • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

            by Cidolfas ( 1358603 )

            the US health care system. We need *less* regulation...

            From both government and private bureaucrats. Cutting middle men into people's health is a terrible idea. Who allowed that?

            Oh. Nixon.

        • Well if the market was unable or unwilling to support a relatively neutral search engine, I would say there is an argument for regulation. However Google is making a killing exactly by being relatively neutral and comprehensive.
        • You have a point. But can we please dispense with the "free market"? It doesn't exist and never has. All business is done within a framework of government regulation.
    • Re:Huh... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by wizardforce ( 1005805 ) on Tuesday December 29, 2009 @12:35AM (#30579156) Journal

      Indeed. If you take a look at the site in question, there doesn't seem to be anything about it that jumps out as being novel. It looks like the author created a mediocre search/link site and expected to be in the top results. The telling bit about the whole affair is that the author claims that the site was virtually off the net in terems of searches for three years yet that would largely require the top two or three search engines to do essentially the same thing which probably more than anything leads one to suspect that there's something about the site its self rather than multiple search engines that is the problem.

      • I noticed your spoke of a foundem complaint on The Guardian by another author. Sounds like they'r just going around moaning purely to boost mention of their website and improve its ranking. I went to their site and, imo, it's ugly and the name is dumb. I doubt I'll use it. I rarely use Froogle or Kelkoo. I just prefer to use my bookmarks.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 29, 2009 @12:52AM (#30579264)

      He probably broke Google's rules by doing shady SEO tricks and his site just isn't that popular. Why would people want to search for other search engines, anyhow? I want to find actual results, not endless pages filled with "searches" that lead to other searches but never have actual results.

      Anyhow, although I agree with net neutrality (because we *can't* easily change ISPs, due to their natural monopoly), this "search neutrality" is utter crap. I can change search engines on a whim. But *I don't want to.* If I don't like the way Google does things, I will drop them. It won't be the first time, either. I used to use Altavista, back when it was the most comprehensive. I still remember, and would use, other search engines, but thanks to Google... I just don't need to.

      If you want to get people to visit your site, make it something people want. Don't just whine if the search engines ignore you. You don't have any natural right to a certain ranking on search results (no matter how important it is to your bottom line), and I have to think that this would be an incredibly stupid thing to regulate.

      Of course, politicians like regulating things they have no business regulating. *sigh*

      • by NotBorg ( 829820 )

        SEO's, if anything, should be regulated. By very definition they aim to circumvent "search neutrality" by artificially inflating the relevance of a result.

        There's a difference between putting the news that you've launched a website and trying to make sure that it's the only destination people end up at.

        SEO's are a cancer on "Web 2.0". Forcing users to clean their spam and type in barely legible captchas... all so our search results can less useful?

        Google is fine. Fix SEOs by making their scams a crime.

      • Actually, there is plenty of reasons to have specialize search engines. The problem is that foundem really is worthless as a search engine. And yes, I suspect that they have pulled a NUMBER of shady actions that has earned them their much lower place.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      The author of TFA is upset because despite his best efforts to aggregate other people's information to drive revenues for his site (ie, leech off the actual stores) Google apparently decided that "Foundem" was a worthless piece of affiliate-link-baiting crap. It's essentially one step above making nothing but blog posts about different sites prices, all conveniently linked to one affiliate account.

      Any credibility the author of TFA *might* have had goes out the window when he claims that MapQuest was dethron

      • The funny part is there is an angle nobody so far has mentioned: That he may have put his "Wahhh poor me" rant on Slashdot hoping the Slashdot effect would help him to game the system by raising up his page views.

        Which if it does work everyone would have to admit that it was a pretty smart piece of work. I mean he writes a shitty article, about his shitty site that is NO different from a 1000 other shitty sites, goes on Slashdot with a "waaah poor me" post, and of course everyone on Slashdot rushes to his

        • He's already ahead of you. It appears there are Foundem rants on the NY Times and the the Guardian. Watch for it to pop up else where.
    • this is just a wahhhhhh my internet company didn't work lets blame google for everything piece. atleast slashdot is consistently SHIT
    • by Gerzel ( 240421 ) *

      I'd be happy to have strong network neutrality strongly enforced. Search neutrality is nice but nearly unworkable in any reasonable sense it seems.

      Instead of saying these companies have to be neutral I think it would be better to require them to show their work. Post in a database what they are scoring up or down and why and perhaps provide some reasonable method of recourse for parties who believe they have been unfairly targeted.

    • by mwvdlee ( 775178 )

      If you google for "Foundem", the first site you'll find is... Foundem.
      What you get when you visit this site is a prize comparison site just like all the other ones you already knew.
      Perhaps the reason google doesn't list it that high is because there is nothing really special about this site; it isn't more relevant than it's competitors.

      When you search for "price comparison", you'll find pages full of price comparison sites or articles about price comparison, all perfectly valid search results.
      Foundem is on

    • Ah yes. The old "they're not helping me spread my word, therefore they are suppressing me!" argument. Which, just like everytime it comes up on Slashdot, is complete hogwash.

      Let me explain to the Foundem founder what has to be explained every time to Slashdot newbies: no one has an obligation to make sure that your site or opinion has to be heard by everyone. If Google would not exist, the Foundem founder would be faced with the exact same problem as now: no one knows about his site. And what solution exist

    • "Credibility of your article nullified" - ad-hominem is irrelevant here.

      To my mind, the article's main argument is that Google in the search market today is in the same position Microsoft was in the OS market in the 1990s (near monopoly of a critical technology). This by itself is not sufficient grounds for regulation, but if Google starts to leverage this monopoly to choke competition in related areas (as Microsoft did), then we have a problem. The article lists a couple of examples where Google might be

  • But now it's too late, my plan worked perfectly five years ago!!

  • by dada21 ( 163177 ) <> on Tuesday December 29, 2009 @12:11AM (#30579010) Homepage Journal

    ...the mouthpiece for the State clamoring for MORE State control.


  • And PS, keep the goddamned Feds out of search.

  • by ( 1195047 ) <philip.paradis@p ... t ['gra' in gap]> on Tuesday December 29, 2009 @12:13AM (#30579022) Homepage Journal
    Let's go ahead and regulate the living crap out of everything online... that's sure to do wonders for innovation.
    • Just remember, if Google was not allowed to manually tweak it's search results, we'd forever have the system that lets us know that Target fails to carry products catering to male self-stimulation needs: []

  • Fail. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by girlintraining ( 1395911 ) on Tuesday December 29, 2009 @12:13AM (#30579030)

    The principle that search engines should have no editorial policies other than that their results be comprehensive, impartial and based solely on relevance.

    The definition of comprehensive depends on the computational resources of the provider.
    The definition of impartiality depends on the morality of the observer.
    The definition of relevance depends on entirely subjective criteron.

    You can't legislate these things. They're intangible. And besides, Google (and many other search engines) rely on the ability to edit their results to defeat attempts to game the algorithms they use. Legislation that limits that would ironically worsen the very attribute it is attempting to improve! It would allow search engine spammers free reign. The solution here is not to regulate... If a search engine sucks, it'll be replaced by a vendor that offers an alternative that sucks less. But if you must legislate, I would take a minimalist approach -- only regulate that which is proven harmful.

  • by BadAnalogyGuy ( 945258 ) <> on Tuesday December 29, 2009 @12:16AM (#30579052)

    Encarta, possibly the most successful commercial digital encyclopedia of all time is based on the old Funk and Wagnalls encyclopedia which unfortunately was subpar to Brittanica and World Book by miles.

    Microsoft took that shoddy encyclopedia, added content, added media, added hyperlinks, and turned the paper volumes into the best digital encyclopedia you could (at that time) buy.

    But facts are facts. You can't really alter the information of an encyclopedia without someone calling you on it. In the same way, search engines categorize and comb through volumes of information and return data as best it can. Sometimes that data is useless (spam), but other times it is very pertinent (vanity searches).

    If Google or Bing can't restrict what is shown in their search results, the value of the search tool is reduced. As we have seen in recent years, Google's search results are getting worse and worse, being flooded by spammers and expertsexchange links that include a couple of search terms but either have nothing to do with the search or require registration to access.

    Leave the right to determine what they will return to the search providers. Guarantee that the tool remains useful by allowing them to cull the results responsibly.

  • by ( 463190 ) * on Tuesday December 29, 2009 @12:17AM (#30579058) Homepage

    ... and in exchange, they deserve that we regulate the fuck out of them to just sell us the bits.

    Google's search is a free service with multiple competitors and negligible customer lock-in. See the difference?

    • by kinema ( 630983 )
      Not to be pedantic, but natural monopolies [] aren't "granted" but are rather, well, natural.
      • by Miseph ( 979059 )

        As a practical matter, they are granted because the conventional wisdom is that they would be natural monopolies, and granting them is ultimately in the best interests of the public as it avoids nasty corporate bickering and proprietary hardware incompatibilities.

        Not to say that the argument is borne out by reality, but it can be reasonably stated that, at least according to "what everyone knows", telco monopolies are both natural and government-granted monopolies.

  • by pclminion ( 145572 ) on Tuesday December 29, 2009 @12:17AM (#30579062)

    If "relevance" is a requirement, then the government will have to produce a definition of "relevance." Wow, I love this idea. Instead of allowing the advancement of technology, we have to conform to a government definition, and if we rank our search results contrary to that definition, our search engine is ILLEGAL. And I'm sure the government won't abuse their ability to declare certain results orderings to be illegal.

    Stay the hell away from my search engines. If I'm not happy with the one I'm using, I'll switch to another.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Cronock ( 1709244 )

      If I'm not happy with the one I'm using, I'll switch to another.

      Exactly, this is the reason why people started using Google in the first place. Everything else was absolutely full of spam, enough that relevant articles were sometimes first listed on the second or third page of results. I can see companies abusing this, but I suspect communities such as Slashdot will scream bloody murder when results are found to be skewed. From there, it's our choice to keep using it or move on to the next startup with a good search mechanism.

    • I completely agree, governments find that things which disagree with them are not relevant.

      Do we want our google to be China's google?
  • by headkase ( 533448 ) on Tuesday December 29, 2009 @12:18AM (#30579066)
    As Techdirt stated, this story was: Vetted By Malnourished Monkeys []. Apparently the same this happened here. Yay.
    • by linhares ( 1241614 ) on Tuesday December 29, 2009 @12:52AM (#30579260)

      As Techdirt stated, this story was: Vetted By Malnourished Monkeys. Apparently the same this happened here. Yay.

      That's the link [] I was looking for. Mods take notice of parent's post please? Here is a tidbit:

      NYT Runs Quack, Self-Serving Anti-Google OpEd By Paul Kedrosky Monday, December 28, 2009 ShareThis There is a quack, self-serving, and silly search-related OpEd in Monday's NY Times that would be amusing, if it weren't so indelibly dumb. In it the founder of a company, Foundem, in the search business alleges that search company Google should be investigated and forced to do a better job of highlighting firms like his. Gosh, what a shocker. Someone in search with minimal web traffic -- Compete says Foundem gets a little less web traffic than The Fortune Cookie Chronicles does, which is to say around 1,700 a month -- wants someone in search with a lot of web traffic, Google, to send his company buckets of visitors. Amazing. The OpEd goes downhill from there. We get a litany of silly complaints, like the idea that Google doesn't innovate, that it just buys stuff from others, and that Google's Maps and other products have hurt other companies. Yeesh. I'll say this really slowly: Consumers want products that work together, simplify our lives, and solve problems. For this nitwit to want to throw us back to a world where we need point products -- maps here, directions there, product search there, email over there, etc. -- as some sort of full-employment act for me-too companies that can't get web traffic on their own merits is batshit nuts. Of course, there is a second level of stupid to this piece, and that goes to the NYT itself. It took until the fourth paragraph of the piece until we find out that the OpEd author is, you know, conflicted in that he himself runs a search company (albeit one with negligible traffic). Not only that, he has an axe to grind, as he goes on in paragraph four to arm-wavingly allege that Google "disappeared" his site from its results...

      It goes on from there. Excellent piece overall.

  • the principle that search engines should have no editorial policies other than that their results be comprehensive, impartial and based solely on relevance.

    Here, there's this thing called the First Amendment []. You may have heard of it. This is nothing more than some dingbat whose business it isn't to insert his nose where it don't belong. Once you accept his premise, spammers can also force changes in Google etc. rankings based on their own notion of "relevance". ("see? We have tons of this keyword in our

  • Sour grapes (Score:5, Insightful)

    by whoever57 ( 658626 ) on Tuesday December 29, 2009 @12:23AM (#30579084) Journal
    Here is the motivation for the article:

    For three years, my company's vertical search and price-comparison site, Foundem, was effectively "disappeared" from the Internet in this way.

    What are the options?

    1. His site just never had enough incoming links to raise it in the rankings.
    2. His site employed tricks to artificially raise its ranking and was penalized for this.
    3. Google marked down his site for other reasons (competitive?)

    Really, what is the most likely answer? For yet another price comparison website?

  • by Pfhorrest ( 545131 ) on Tuesday December 29, 2009 @12:25AM (#30579100) Homepage Journal
    Infrastructure is a natural monopoly. Broadcast spectrum even more so.

    The FCC's original mandate was to govern allocation of broadcast spectrum; the naturally monopolistic tendencies of wired infrastructure (the need for eminent domain to build it, mostly) provides a reasonable justification for extending its purview to that as well.

    But search engines are not natural monopolies. Anyone can come along, do it better than the other guys, and run off with their lunch money, so to speak. Just like Google did to all the search engines that they put out of business or pushed to the sidelines when they debuted. Sure, overturning a very popular brand like Google in the minds of users will be difficult, but that's mostly because Google is good enough for most people; if it sucked, people would be happy to try something new, and if a competitor search engine can't even carve out a little niche for itself to compete in, it obviously has nothing of significant benefit to offer.

    And unlike the inevitable Microsoft comparison, switching away from Google to another search engine costs the users absolutely nothing, compared to not only the cost of acquiring an alternative operating system, but of learning it and changing over almost all of your apps which depend on it. If switching from Windows to Linux or OSX or BSD or what have you were as cheap and easy as switching from Google to Yahoo or vice versa, I suspect MS wouldn't have nearly the stranglehold it has on the operating system market.

    Point being, there's absolutely no need to regulate search engines, because this is about one of the clearest examples of where the free market can handle itself best.
  • by Jim Buzbee ( 517 ) on Tuesday December 29, 2009 @12:27AM (#30579112) Homepage

    There's a good debunking of the article here []

  • Why?? (Score:5, Informative)

    by johnlcallaway ( 165670 ) on Tuesday December 29, 2009 @12:28AM (#30579118)
    First .. the person writing the op-ed had been penalized by Google and is biased. They don't mention why, but probably from breaking some of the search engine rules regarding gateway pages or meta tags or something else. Anyone with any web skills could have contacted Google, found out why, and corrected the problem.

    Secondly .. Google got where they are because the majority of people probably like they way their search engine works, and how it is integrated with other tools. Just like Microsoft .. it didn't get to be the largest software by having the best software, just the one that most people used. If google was biased politically, I doubt that would have been the case. This guy is upset because his business was impacted because he didn't follow Google's rules and didn't bother to contact them.

    Lastly, there is NOTHING wrong with a biased search engine as long as the people using it understand the bias. Business, environmental, left wing, right wing, socialist, communist, capitalist and what-ever-ists might like to have a search engine that gives them results according to their political views. WHY does a search engine have to be non-biased?? Because this guy didn't follow the rules, was too lazy to fix it, and got hurt??? That's one of the reasons I think the Fairness doctrine is .. well .. unfair. Why can't I find a media source that has the same bias as I do so I don't have to read all the tripe from those that disagree with me. Free speech doesn't mean I have to listen to it. Free choice in search engines means I don't have to use those that don't return the results I want to see.

    Foundem is a SEARCH ENGINE. So I typed in 'price search engine'. Interestingly enough, Google was fourth on the list.....I couldn't find Foundem in the first 4 pages. Here are the meta tags on Foundem's home page ---

    vertical search, price comparison, compare prices, flight search, hotel search, shop, buy, online, compare, best deals, best buy, prices, electronics, reviews, computers, job search, property search.

    Wow ... no wonder they don't show up. They don't do anything UNIQUE. There are hundreds of companies doing the same thing. I guess they still haven't figured out how to get placement on a search engine.

    Personally, I will discount this op-ed piece as little more than whining by some company too lazy to figure out what their market is, create a unique product, and spend the time and effort to get it to show up on Goggle's search engine. Lots of other companies do that just fine.....they must have skilled web staff working for them.

    Or they figured if Google can't drive traffic to their web site, maybe the Times will. Seems the only advertising they want is 'free'.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      The New York Times has also struggled with getting people to pay for their shit, and right now is part of an effort to bring pressure against Google anyway it can.

  • Good luck legislating this. When Microsoft can pay Verizon $500 million to install a Bing search icon on their phones there's bound to be lots of push back and lobbying efforts to make sure this does not happen. Truly "neutral" search will never be a reality unless there's some movement to disclose back room deals such as this. But that can't happen, at least not easily. And I'm not sure if it should.

    At some point consumers of services have to be smart enough to look out for themselves. The government

  • by rmcd ( 53236 ) * on Tuesday December 29, 2009 @12:30AM (#30579128)

    A lot of this article is sour grapes.

    The statement that Google Maps beat Mapquest because of preferential search treatment is hilarious. When google introduced the satellite view I recall reading (Wall street journal maybe?) that a mapquest executive had said he couldn't envision any need for the satellite view in a mapping service. (I just looked for the quote and couldn't find it. Too bad. Does this ring a bell with anyone? Bad as it sounded then, it sounds unbelievably idiotic now.) Mapquest just got beat by better technology.

    • by Xeno man ( 1614779 ) on Tuesday December 29, 2009 @12:45AM (#30579216)
      You can say the same thing about street view. At first though there is no piratical use of other than that's kind of neat but Google is out there with a custom car and hardware mapping out the cities of the world. Google is the first and so far the only ones to do that and it's that type of attitude that made Google as successful as it is.
      • Google is the first and so far the only ones to do that

        Google was the first to make it a production-quality feature, in 2007. On the other hand, Live Maps (now Bing Maps) had a publicly accessible demo of a similar thing in 2006 [] (the link in the article still works, but the UI is really painful to use).

        Once Google released Street View, and it became quite a success, others have [] followed [], so it's not really the only one providing this. Their coverage is still superior, though.

      • by selven ( 1556643 )

        no piratical use

        Call the RIAA! Finally, an internet application that can't be used for piracy!

  • by khchung ( 462899 ) on Tuesday December 29, 2009 @12:43AM (#30579206) Journal

    "Today, news media like New York Times, Fox News, CNN have become the news gatekeepers, and the crucial role they play in dictating what news is prominently visible to the people means they are now an essential component of the society. The F.C.C. needs to look beyond freedom of the press (freedom to publish your own newspaper) and include news neutrality: the principle that news media should have no editorial policies other than that their results be comprehensive, impartial and based solely on relevance."

    I don't think it will happen in my lifetime though.

  • I get it, just like everything else, it will be fair and impartial. The FCC just let Comcast buy NBC, so clearly they could do no evil. OK sure I feel so much better... We can always trust laws to prevent unfairness and everyone will happy with what the money decides.
  • I am surprised everyone seems so against this idea.

    I do not know about anyone else but i do not go about trying addresses in the address bar and hoping to get a relevant site. if it does not show up on the first page of google chances are I will never visit the web page.

    But, from what I have seen google does not seen to do much censoring, so i am not really worried at this point.

    and I would consider it important not to be censored from any part of the internet.
    Not that they should not edit out th
    • if it does not show up on the first page of google chances are I will never visit the web page.

      ..and this is what its all about, really. There are only so many search phrases that are rational, and thus only a finite number of sites can hit the first page of google/bing. With many of these first-page sites dominating hundreds of thousands of phrases and their permutations, there is only so much of that sweet first-page pie to go around.

  • search engines are supposed to discriminate. they pick a winner and a loser and rank everything inbetween. so this guys site was like every other shitty fucking link aggregator out there and google weeded it out for it's users. fuck you very much thanks for playing.
  • by anglophobe_0 ( 1383785 ) on Tuesday December 29, 2009 @01:02AM (#30579328)
    The reason it's so important for net neutrality laws to prevent ISP's from filtering or throttling traffic is because they have such a stranglehold on the market, and that monopoly/cartel is mostly government-protected. There's no way to bypass your ISP except via proxy or by switching ISP's, and many people have neither the technical knowledge to do the first, nor the availability of the second option. If you don't like the way a particular search engine behaves, just don't use a search engine, or switch to another. Telecoms are almost as impervious to market swings as the government itself, whereas there are new search engines popping up every day. Take cuil for instance. Besides, how are they going to regulate different types of search engines, for instance Bing vs. Google vs. Wolfram Alpha. Each of these engines has a very different idea of what is "relevant", even if you strip away any manipulation done for ulterior motives.
  • The Government should stay out of dictating to Google and the other search engines how they rank the searches. Period.

    If Google screws around, there are always rival search engines that would give you the content you are looking for.

    The real danger is that the Government might tell Google and other search engines to filter out what the Government considers to be "dangerous information", "State Secrets", or other nonsense.

    Basically, we are talking Search Censorship.

    EFF and others should lobby hard against *any* government interference into how online services conduct their service. We can decide for ourselves if the Search Engines are being fair, and if not, we can launch new search engines and watch the big ones loose market share.


  • You use a search engine to pair down listings based on arbitrary criteria, and you want those results to be relevant. This means intelligent algorithms which are by their nature non-neutral.

    Given that the internet is 99% porn, I think its a very, very bad idea to ban such relevance sorting. I'm sure parents will be happy with their congressman after their kid enters "jupiter" for a science project and gets 10 pages of XXX to sort through.

  • In order to access our Web site, your Web browser must accept cookies from More information.

    Another NY Times article that I won't be reading.

    The concept of "neutrality" is best applied to things that tend to be natural monopolies, such as infrastructure, including high-speed internet connectivity.

  • by bingemaster ( 1679738 ) on Tuesday December 29, 2009 @01:42AM (#30579508)
    Ya know, if a better competitor (from the public's POV, not from "Foundem" biased viewpoint) appears, Google will fade. Anyone remember:
    • - the world wide web worm?
    • lycos?
    • yahoo?
    • altavista?

    I'm sure that Google will innovate/improve to keep that from happening, but it's not as if I don't have a choice between any search provider. OTOH -- I set that in my browser. Having the ISP (I'm looking at you, Charter) hijaack the NXDOMAIN to go to their own engine is causing me serious heartburn (especially since I'm trying to *telnet* to a valhalla.private address!

  • I heard that Google weighs certain websites it deems more valuable over others, in addition to the default weight given by the PageRank algorithm. Can anyone confirm this?

  • On the Neutral Planet.

    (when dying)
    I want you to tell my wife, hello.

  • by holophrastic ( 221104 ) on Tuesday December 29, 2009 @03:32AM (#30579910)

    Why would I want search nutrality? I don't want all search engines to return essentially the same results. I want Bing to return more Microsoft-centric results, and I want Google to return Google-centric results. I want community-oriented search engines to return community-centric results, and I want product-oriented search engines to return product-centric results.

    When I want MSDN documentation, I want to go to Bing, search for javascript, and get the msdn javascript reference -- above the mozilla one.

    You know, like when you want a science book, you went to a science book store. And when you wanted a book by a british author, you called a british book store.

    It's all a part of considering the source -- in all senses of the words. I don't want everything to be the same.

  • be reasonable to have search standards applied to them are the DNS NXDOMAIN search redirects, such as those used by comcast.

    Since they are being forced upon their users, and those users are forced by regional monopolies to use that ISP.

  • Today, search engines like Google, Yahoo and Microsoft's new Bing have become the Internet's gatekeepers

    To be an "internet gatekeeper," don't you need people to actually visit your site first?

  • by Tanuki64 ( 989726 ) on Tuesday December 29, 2009 @06:51AM (#30580598)
    Google is sued right and left for whatever reasons. Publishing companies lobby governments to have google pay for the "right" to make them visible. Of course, this only works well if Google is taken the power to retaliate by removing certain sites from their results at will. So search neutrality generally sounds good, but who benefits most from it?
  • ...looking for a problem.

  • is using his papers to bash his competitiors - welcom the the UK media where Murdocs papers regulualy run articles trashhing the oposition and plugging Sky. Private Eye a satirical mag even has a section dedecated to this.

"I don't believe in sweeping social change being manifested by one person, unless he has an atomic weapon." -- Howard Chaykin