Google Should be Controlled?

  morddwyd 08:21 19 Sep 2011

Sir Brian Souter (a Scottish transport mogul) has suggested legislation to control Google after his website suddenly stopped being flagged up in searches (since rectified).

Does the idea have merit?

Should a private foreign company be legislated against because of its perfectly legal company policies (assuming, for the sake of the argument, that Souter is right)?

Or is Google so dominant that it has to be reined in?

After all, it is freely admitted that there are other search engines available giving normal results.

  interzone55 10:02 19 Sep 2011

The problem we have here is that Google, Bing, Yahoo etc all use different algorithms to generate search result placings.

Google has a number of defences in place to prevent spaming sites reaching the tops of the rankings (remember when shopping aggregating sites such as Kelkoo where at the top of most searches).

In Brian Souter's case a number of sites exist campaigning against him due to his views on Homosexuality, these sites may well have had an adverse effect on the placing of his personal site.

  morddwyd 10:08 19 Sep 2011

Doesn't matter what algorithm is used.

Should Google be legislated against?

  interzone55 10:12 19 Sep 2011


My point is that it's likely that there was no censorship, just the way the rankings worked.

So no, they shouldn't be legislated against as that would bring in a situation where the legal system can have control over search engines and that would be much much worse than any alleged offence here

  morddwyd 12:30 19 Sep 2011

Point taken, but I was`looking at the wider principle really.

Should any company, which recognises market forces and responds to them, so successfully that it becomes dominant (but not a monopoly, which is a different kettle of fish altogether) be legislated against?

Tesco is a dominant force in retail, Amazon in on line sales, Sky in media.

Should they ever face` legislation to make them change company policy?

  Aitchbee 13:32 19 Sep 2011

All of the rules being made and enforcred by Britain will fly-in-the-face to China and other global market leaders.They will 'step in' where angels fear to tread.

  Forum Editor 18:21 19 Sep 2011

"Tesco is a dominant force in retail, Amazon in on line sales, Sky in media.Should they ever face` legislation to make them change company policy?"

These businesses have become 'dominant' because they have been professionally and successfully managed for many years. Provided they do not break any laws I fail to see any reason why they should be penalised for their success by facing legislation to make them change their policies.

That would be state interference of the very worst kind, and would be totally undemocratic. If consumers don't like the way a commercial organisation conducts itself they have the ultimate sanction at their disposal - they can simply cease buying the company's goods and/or services.

  morddwyd 20:15 19 Sep 2011


My point exactly.

Souter thinks (and it doesn't matter whether it's Souter or my Aunt Abigail, or why) that Google should be legislated against purely because it is dominant, a dangerous precedent.

This thread is now locked and can not be replied to.

Elsewhere on IDG sites

iMac Pro review

Illustrator Charles Williams on how to create magazines and book covers

iMac Pro review

Les meilleures prises CPL (2018)