Monday, December 28, 2009

Search, but You May Not Find

The New York Times article "Search, but You May Not Find" (December 27th, 2009) evokes market power problems where they do not belong.
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.
The article continues to cite examples in which google promotes its favored (google powered) shopping results above others. There are very few barriers to entry in this industry. For example, if consumers are worried that google is biasing their map-searches, they can create a search that presents google's search results simultaneously with yahoos, or msn's, or any of the hundreds of search engines that are displayed when one googles "search engine" (notably, google is hit number nine). The market for internet search has virtually no barriers to entry and Corrections sees no cause for regulation.

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