Search is important, anyone still harboring any doubt need do nothing more than look at some of the bubbling and breaking search stories circling this week. Clearly several parts of the EU hate, hate, HATE Google and all its works…and unsurprisingly the French are leading the charge. I have commented on this battle a couple of times recently, for a while media owners have been railing against Google taking their content for free and monetizing it by serving ads on results sets. In a very French way they want the government to levy a news tax on Google and in return Google is threatening to stop indexing all French content. Google boss Eric Schmidt met with the French government and a bunch of EU publishers to discuss this issue this week. It strikes me that rather than escalate to an all out war the French publishers might do what the Brazilian ones did a few months back. They effectively blocked Google from indexing their content…if searchers want new content they are forced to go to the publisher’s sites and enjoy the ads displayed on the publisher instead of the ads displayed by Google. If the Brazilian publishers are to be believed this change had only a minimal impact in over all traffic…so maybe the French should try that out and see if it works for them too. The other weird war still on a slow burn is behind the Great Fire Wall of China.
China has been growing by leaps and bounds with Baidu as the market leader. Back in August an anti virus company Qihoo 360 launched a search on the back of the enormous exposure they already have through their antivirus products. This pretty much overnight captured 10% of market share (is anyone at McAfee taking notes?). A slanging match has ensued with companies getting more agitated and trying more and more edgy things to get back at each other. In any event in a statement on Thursday the Internet Society of China supported by all the major search providers in China committed themselves to place nice and “encourage innovation and create a fair competitive environment” and perhaps ominously to “stop online rumors” by beefing up real identification of people posting online. This is clearly an attempt to put the rumor genie back in the bottle. There have been multiple cases lately where some pretty damaging stories have been circulating anonymously about some major Chinese political figures.
The Iranians continue work on an Islamic web which returns results only from the Caliphate of the 7th century, the Chinese want to stop online rumors and the French would rather the whole Internet thing just go away…It would be more effective to try to clean up after Hurricane Sandy with a bucket and mop….have a great weekend.