EU and US continue to have different perspectives on Google

Interesting to read Mr Almunia’s (EU Commissioner responsible for competition) comments re Google and any apparent bias in the results of their search engine – as against the recent findings of the FTC.

Ed Black’s recent piece in Forbes makes the case for the FTC decision.

I suspect this has some way to run.  Competitors clearly unhappy that Google is exploiting its position.  Not unfair for Mr Black or Google to point out that others are not without sin either.  But I guess the real concern is the sheer size, dominance, influence of one player and the standards that must be seen to operate for such a player.

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Reflecting on 2010 – in Dublin, Ireland

Dublin by night
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It’s been a pretty frightening year on the economic front, here in Dublin, Ireland.  Finally, despite all the protestations of the Government the EU and IMF rode into town.  A deal has been done – premised on significant growth it might be doable…if the growth does not materialise – then eventually some debt will have to be written off.

On the technology front – for me personally the smartphone wins out (currently favouring the Android platform): greater access and availability wherever you are (wherever I am).  Seems to me the Cloud has matured into something that is not going away – in fact that looks like it will win out.  I think the objections will be addressed and moved aside. On the semantic web front – lots of activity from various providers of tools/ solutions using semantic technology. Disappointing, given the presence of DERI in Ireland, that we do not see more publicity/ traction within our own smart economy.  And we trail other countries dismally on initiatives to push publication of data (using linked open data standards)  by government departments.

Snow in the suburbs
A whole new world

The last few weeks have been challenging on the weather front – in particular on the East Coast.  It would have to be said that our local government/admin/ transport has failed miserably and consistently in addressing the weather challenges.  To see major roads not being cleared each night is pretty depressing – be it shortage of money to pay the overtime, trucks to clear the snow/slush,salt to treat the roads or poor planning/management and execution.  But there is a real cost – most likely including loss of life – because of this repeated failure.

Katie Taylor, Graeme McDowell, Tipperary hurlers, U23 cross country runners and many more – great memories and inspiration in a difficult year and looking forward to challenging years.

There was my short break with my wife in Budapest – what a marvellous city and such hospitable people.  But then we had the fun courtesy of Volcanic Ash – our four day trip home was quite luxurious by comparison with the hardship experienced by others.

Best book I read was the 10th anniversary edition of The Cluetrain Manifesto.  Also often found myself returning to ideas from The Power of Pull.

And Wikileaks has caught the imagination as the year closes out.  I was not very positively disposed to Mr Assange when this began – but the overreaction from certain quarters is not doing much to reinforce my doubts.  I think we all need to reflect a little on this. Some of the ideas referenced by Clay Shirky in Here Comes Everybody and by Don Tapscott in Macrwikinomics are playing out in front of us.

All in all looking forward to the break – a chance to enjoy some of the best things in Ireland – company, craic, ceol, food, literature, scenery, catching up with the visiting diaspora…and time to do some dreaming.  Because we all need to use our imaginations and our creativity in order to ensure that we do beat our targets next year – be that winning a major, winning a football championship, keeping a job, hiring a new employee, starting a new business, teaching a student, helping someone.

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More Google debate – this time re fairness of search

EU January 2007 Search European Union for more...
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So now it seems the EU will investigate the fairness of Google search results. And the complainant is a subsidiary of Microsoft.

This is not the first time that the EU has involved itself with dominant players – ask Microsoft themselves.

The stakes are high.  Google has entered the language – ‘to google’ something being the action of searching for relevant information re something using the Google site.  Any suggestion that Google, enjoying its dominant position in the search marketplace, would use its own search engine to provide results in a biased way (thereby impacting its competitors negatively), would not sit well with the EU.  It is important for the public and the EU that this is cleared up in a satisfactory manner for everyone.

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EU to review internet privacy rules

European Union: adapted from original orthogra...
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NY Times reports today that EU will review internet privacy rules.  Not surprising given the various stories about Google inadvertently gathering private data and facebook partners leaking user data.

‘…Viviane Reding, the justice commissioner, announced its intention to overhaul the European Union’s data protection rules to take account of the development of social networking, personalized advertising and other Web services that have raised privacy concerns. The new legislation, set to be introduced next year, would replace rules that date to 1995…’

On a separate note for any of you concerned re Streetview images uploaded by Google see this link from the Data Protection Commissioner’s Site (Ireland)

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