Is Google the (next) Evil Empire?

Following in the history of AT&T, IBM, and Microsoft, the US Department of Justice and several state attorneys general have filed a federal antitrust lawsuit against Google on October 20, 2020. On NPR’s Morning Edition, Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge said that her concern was “I don’t want what Google says is best. I want the actual best.”

Google does not make recommendations. They do not evaluate products. Search reports what they find. They tell us how to improve search results for free. And they clearly mark paid search results.

Considering everything that Google has reached into these days, I think that wanting “the actual best” search results may be the worst antitrust argument against Google. Is this their best shot?

Daily Picayune from 1891
By Staff of “The Daily Picayune,” New Orleans, September 14, 1891, Public Domain, Wikimedia commons.

Life before Google

A bit of history is important here. Before Google, if looking for products or services, you checked advertisements, the phone book, and your friends. If important, you might check your public library.

Your response to recommendations from friends is one thing. However, did anyone ever blame the local newspaper if you could not find a paid advertisement for a particular store selling shoes you want? Was the telephone company if a company’s display ad in their phone book did not work?

There seems to be a serious disconnect in how the plaintiffs think how search works versus how search really works.

Yoast SEO

Help to rank better in search

Not only does Google provide help to rank better in search, but they do it for free. Google Webmasters tells you how.

Interestingly enough, Microsoft Bing Webmaster Tools also gives free advice. It is much the same advice.

What you do for one is what you do for the other. And both tell you for free.

There are tools available to help you manage search engine optimization. If you are in the WordPress ecosystem, Yoast SEO has free and paid versions of their product, along with teaching you how to improve your search engine optimization.

How much more transparent can anyone be in how to rank well in search results?

Someone or a company trying to compete needs to spend resources on marketing though. It never has come for free.

About this antitrust case

Google has been successful in how to deliver search. They say how to rank well in results.

Is Google to blame that Apple Maps do not measure up? Apple has the resources to compete.

Should Microsoft sue Google and Apple since Microsoft mobile devices lost to theirs?

If companies are not willing to spend the effort and resources to make sure they show up well in search results, who is to blame?

This is not to say that there is nothing to discuss here regarding antitrust action. However, how is Google to blame in search results?

There is a matter of personal responsibility on the part of others if they want to to place well in search results.

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