Friday, May 8, 2009

Google's approach to competition

As Google has grown, the company has naturally faced more scrutiny about our business principles and practices. We believe that Google promotes competition and openness online, but we haven't always done a good job telling our story.

That's why we have recently been meeting with policymakers, think tank representatives, academics, journalists, ad agencies, and trade associations -- in the U.S. and Europe -- explaining Google's six principles of competition and openness:

1. Help other businesses be more competitive.
2. Make it easy for users to change.
3. Open is better than closed.
4. Competition is just one click away.
5. Advertisers pay what a click is worth to them.
6. Advertisers have many choices in a dynamic market.

As part of this effort we recently gave a webinar for ad agencies in which we walked through these principles. Check it out if you have a chance, and let us know what you think.


Emmanuel Pirsch said...

Maybe you can explain how do you apply these principles with Android.

Why are you allowing telcos to lock it down so device running it cannot be used on other carrier network?

Why are you pulling out tethering apps from the Android Market?

You are clearly violating principles 2, 3 and 4.

Android being open source, you cannot prevent (technically) them from adding features to lock it down, but the license it is released under could do the job (legally).

It really looks like you apply these principles only when you see fit. Obviously, they do not drive your business decisions.

SThompson said...

I respectfully want to blow the whistle on the hypocrisy here. Adam Kovacevich posts this without referencing the gigantic feature in National Journal today about Google doing Washington influence work.

This is essentially the Google response. But Kovacevich is a former spokesperson for Senator Joseph Lieberman and Representative Cal Dooley. Google bought Lieberman's PR guy. Nice! His response kinda proves the point that they are buying DC.

Open is better than closed! We'll see if they post this comment.

JMS said...

We're delighted to see Google posting its "charm offensive" slide show, making it available to everyone.

Of course they spin the story in a way that puts them in the best light. Any company will do that.

We can't help but noting this was posted after we sent a version of the presentation along with a marked-up critique to the Justice Department.

Read about that and see the annotated version.
John M. Simpson
Consumer Advocate
Consumer Watchdog.

The Shonko Kid said...

@Emmanuel Pirsch
As much as I'd hate to defend Google, I think you're way off with your comments.

The principles all apply to Android fair and square, if you want a non locked down Android phone, then buy the Dev version, sure it costs more, but that's simply the non-subsidized price.

If you want a cheap one, then get a subsidized one. So why do Google allow the telco's to lock it down? Well, because they've offset the cost of the device against 18/24 monthly payments that you sign up for.

Want tethering? Well again, get the Dev version, do it yourself. The Telcos are selling you a usage bundle based on a prediction of bandwidth usage for a mobile device. Bandwidth usage on a laptop is likely at least an order of magnitude larger. Most Telcos have bundles for laptops that include a modem, and they're usually more pricey - can you guess why?

Google allow Android to be locked in this way, as this is the way the mobile industry works, and Google's need to be part of that industry is greater than it's need to change it (for now). With last year's Spectrum auctions, it's clear Google is biding it's time until 4G is rolled out.

And I'm sure Google break those principles in ways that make your quibbles about Android seem trivial. said...

I am very concerned about so many websites blocking non-google spiders. it has become virtually impossible for someone outside of google to work off the same www and come up with an innovative method to look at the data. (the same applies to the proposed out-of-print book settlement, but this worries me less.)

even if you do not want to be a monopoly, this defacto makes you one. if the current trend continues, you will become the only possible good indexer to the web.

suggestion: make access to a copy of the spider-collected www publicly accessible. this puts others on a similar footing.

iaw4 said...

you are quickly becoming a monopoly, whether you like it or not. many sites are now blocking access to non-google spiders. this means that you will soon become the only indexer to the web that really has full access to the www. obviously, this will make it close to impossible for other startups to compete with you, or merely to offer interesting ways to look at the web's data. (PS: it is of course the most valuable data on the web that is often protected. so, even if the average website does not block others, the fact that a large number of high-end websites do is FATAL.)

suggestion: make a copy of your google cache fully accessible to other programmers.