Explaining Southern California's economy

Google's antitrust win and the perfect monopoly on search

Google Opens New Berlin Office

Adam Berry/Getty Images

A visitor uses a cell phone in front of the Google logo. The search giant isn't operating a search monopoly, according to the Federal Trade Commission.

UPDATE: Google offers its own take at the Google blog.

The big news out of Washington on Thursday morning isn't yet another installment in the fiscal cliff melodrama — it's that Google isn't breaking antitrust laws, the Federal Trade Commission concludes.

The investigation zeroed in on the thrumming heart of Google's business, which has rewarded the California tech colossus with a whopping $239 billion market capitalization: search. This is from the New York Times:

Companies that rely on Google to drive traffic to their sites have complained that Google adjusts its search algorithm to favor its own growing number of commerce sites — including shopping, local listings and travel.

But the [FTC] faced an uphill battle in proving malicious intent — that Google changes its search algorithm to purposely harm competitors and favor itself. Antitrust lawyers say anticompetitive behavior cannot be proved simply by showing that a change in the algorithm affects other Web sites and causes sites to show up lower in results, even though studies have shown that users rarely look beyond the first page of search results.

Read More...

The iPad and long-form blogging

Apple Unveils Updated iPad In San Francisco

Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

In the first product release following the death of Steve Jobs, Apple Inc. introduced the third version of the iPad.

Regular readers of the DeBord Report know that I'm a big fan of/occasionally exasperated by Fred Wilson, a prominent venture capitalist and avid blogger. Fred is a partner at Union Square Ventures in New York, with investments in companies like Foursquare, Disqus, and my new favorite search engine with a silly name, Duck Duck Go.

But Fred also blogs every single day without fail. Recently, he tackled the question of whether mobile devices can replace laptops for workers on the go. For some folks, they already have. I ran into our CEO in the elevator a few weeks back and somehow got to discussing my new briefcase. "This is my briefcase," he said, brandishing his iPad. 

It used to be inconceivable that you'd leave home without your laptop, especially if you had heavy content production on your agenda. I've heard tales of bloggers who can do their thing on tablets and even smartphones, but for the majority, I don't think the adoption of laptop alternatives has been that aggressive.

Read More...

Shopping for search: Have you tried Duck Duck Go?

Duck Duck Go is search that cares about privacy above all else.

I've been cheating on Google quite a bit these past few weeks with a new-ish search site called Duck Duck Go. I first heard about the site — which operates out of that hotbed of technological innovation, the veritable Silicon Valley of the Northeastern corridor, Valley Forge, Penn. — from its main venture funder, Union Square Ventures. USV's Fred Wilson has blogged about Duck Duck Go a few times. I use other services/companies in USVs portfolio — Disqus, Dwolla — so I was intrigued.

Duck Duck Go is not Google, but that's the point. I'm not sure if it's even really a new kind of search, nor do I think it sells itself that way. It is definitely less fussy, quicker search. I'll let Fred tell it:

[I]t may also be that other search engines are doing things that some users don't approve of and those users are shopping around for a new search engine. If you are in that camp, join me at DDG and see what clean, private, impartial and fast search is like.

Read More...