Words of Advice:

“Stand back and stand by.”— Trump’s orders to American Nazis, 9/29/2020

"We have it totally under control. It's one person coming from China. It's going to be just fine." -- Donald Trump, 1/22/2020

“We will not see diseases like the coronavirus come here..and isn't it refreshing when contrasting it with the awful presidency of President Obama."
-- Trump Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany, 2/25/20

"I don't take responsibility for anything." --Donald Trump, 3/13/20

"If Something Seems To Be Too Good To Be True, It's Best To Shoot It, Just In Case." -- Fiona Glenanne

"Flying the Airplane is More Important than Radioing Your Plight to a Person on the Ground Who is Incapable of Understanding or Doing Anything About It." -- Unknown

"There seems to be almost no problem that Congress cannot, by diligent efforts and careful legislative drafting, make ten times worse." -- Me

"What the hell is an `Aluminum Falcon'?" -- Emperor Palpatine

"Eck!" -- George the Cat

Wednesday, October 21, 2020

DoJ Sues Google

The Justice Department on Tuesday sued Google for abusing its dominance in online search and advertising — the government’s most significant attempt to protect competition since its groundbreaking case against Microsoft more than 20 years ago.

Google probably has gotten too big and too powerful. Once companies reach a certain critical mass, they become evil. They can't help it.

But it's worth recalling how this all began. In the late '90s, the predominant search engine was Yahoo. Yahoo was frustrating as fuck to use. When you got a result, the first two pages were nothing but ads. You had to go down a couple of pages to get to the results that you wanted. That might not sound too burdensome, now, but back then, most people who were at home were accessing the Internet through a dial-up service.[1] Given the slow loading speed, the fact that Yahoo's pages were loaded with graphics only slowed things down even more. So using Yahoo was like slamming your hand in a door.

Then along came this minimalist search engine called Google. Maybe one or two lines of ad listings, but that was it. No graphics. Compared to Yahoo (and the other search engines, of which I've forgotten), Google loaded amazingly fast. However long it took it to become the predominate search engine, it wasn't a long time. They didn't even need to advertise, word of mouth did it for them. Within a year or two of Google's debut, I didn't know a single person who didn't use it.

Unlike Microsoft, Google didn't need, then, to strongarm computer makers to preload its stuff. They didn't need to. Their stuff was, simply, better. On my iPhone, Apple Maps was often significantly off, with destinations being a mile or so closer or further up the road. Google Maps hasn't had that problem.

I don't doubt that, since Google has grown it a behemoth, that they now engage in monopolistic and anticompetitive. It's inevitable for very large companies to do that. But still, it's worth remembering that Google got to where they are by having a better product.
1. This is why Cyber Monday was such a big deal; people did their online shopping at work, whre they were more likely to have igh-speed Internet service.


Tod Germanica said...

Google is not even a good search engine. In its zeal to sell you stuff it filters out anything you've never searched and sells you stuff you've searched for already using its database of all your search and other activities which are never deleted. Like your emails.
Everyone is kept in their own little information bubble to make selling us things easy for Google. The hell with giving us the best search engine. It's a lousy search but profitable for them.
And why no boolean search after all these years? Why no 'Not in' search? Why no greater than '>' or less than '<'. Weak, sad poop, Alphabetical, or whatever you call yourself. I use Duck Duck Go search, does not track you and gives neutral search results, not links to maximize their monopoly profits.

dinthebeast said...

I use Google every day and my life is better because of it. I long ago learned to not have any of their programs actually installed on my machine, as there is no way to stop them from ceaselessly updating, and I find that annoying.
That's OK though, as Google maps does everything I had Google Earth on my old machine for, and I don't particularly care for Chrome as a browser, so they don't bug me a lot.
If the anti-trust suit is actually about their business practices and not some election year attempt to "stick it to the liberals in California" then so be it. Alphabet is large and healthy enough to deal with a little regulation, most likely.
And about the whole not having to advertise a good product, I can remember driving home in the mornings from my job in San Francisco and seeing the giant Yahoo billboard right next to the Eastbound freeway.

-Doug in Sugar Pine

Frank Wilhoit said...

The point is that it is no longer meaningful to say that Google is better, because there is nothing left for it to be better than.

CenterPuke88 said...

I always liked “Alta Vista” for searching...but, of course, I also used CompuServe and a 300 byte modem!

Eck! said...

The granddaddy of them all was Altavista. Ok so I'm old...

Last I checked there are symbols used for google to improve searches.

"string of words" find matches to that string not the individual words.

The minus (-) used to remove words like LG-tv finds all
LG branded products but TVs.

THere are others that are very useful..– Dash or Minus Symbol. ...
$ Dollar Symbol
+ Plus Symbol
@ At Symbol
# Hash Symbol. ...
_ Underscore Symbol

” ” Double Quotes Symbol
* Asterisk Symbol

The following page list all of the others.

As to evil, bigger can of worms.


Stewart Dean said...

And for us geeks that got into computers in the '80's, the early search engines would accept Boolean algebra syntax that could very precise in framing a search
(something AND something else) OR (a third something) NEAR wombats

Maybe it will someday come back when the average user becomes more savvy.

DTWND said...

Is Ask.com still a thing? And I thought there was another search tool that started with “You”.


Comrade Misfit said...

Maybe it will someday come back when the average user becomes more savv

Oh, man, that's *funny*!

I remember when the holiday season was regarded by veteran users of online services as "The Annual Shaking of the Idjit Tree".

CenterPuke88 said...

Let’s see...

World Wide Web Wander use robots to plot the size of the web, but no search at first...Aliweb was effectively the first, but didn’t use robots, and most admins didn’t know to tell them...WebCrawler started it all with robots linking...then Lycos...Yahoo popped up, later replaced by Bing...Altavista reigned for a while...HotBot appeared...then AskJeeves, which morphed into Ask.com...MSN...various versions of what is now Google...DuckDuckGo.

That’s the biggest players, Altavista was the first allow some stringing of search terms and modifiers.

dinthebeast said...

Google still has advanced search, which provides more specific search capability, and although I've never found it that useful, it does work.

-Doug in Sugar Pine