Introducing first, in the “we need search neutrality because Google is destroying Britain” corner: Graham Jones, Labour MP for Hyndburn. And in the “people are free to choose whatever search engine they want” corner: Ed Vaizey, Department for Culture Media and Sport Minister.
Yes, Google’s power and search neutrality were the topic of debate at Parliament yesterday. Citing Google’s dominant U.K. market share — 91 percent as of this month — Jones said that local companies are being “squeezed out by unfair and anti-competitive practices by Google.”
“There is growing evidence that Google is leveraging its dominance in the search engine market into adjacent markets, much as Microsoft did when it leveraged its dominance in the operating systems market into adjacent markets, such as the web browser market,” Jones said.
Calling Google a “predator” and “monopoly giant,” he also blasted Google for having “subliminal and unclear sponsored searches that favour other Google products,” said Google is hell bent on world domination, and condemned them for acquiring products rather than inventing them.
“Without search neutrality rules to constrain Google’s competitive advantage, we may be heading toward a bleakly uniform world of Google everything; Google Travel, Google Finance, Google Insurance, Google Property, Google Telecoms and, of course, Google Books.”
Vaizey responded by telling Jones that search engine users can choose any site they want.
“Consumers want a service that offers good performance and enables them to find what they want quickly and easily,” Vaizey said. “Google has entered a market and gained market share by giving consumers what they want. Many search engines, including the most popular, have local versions that search only UK websites.”
The remainder of the U.K. search market share looks like this: Bing has 3.87 percent; Yahoo has 2.85 percent; Ask has 1.26 percent; and the remainder of the providers, including U.K. companies, have 1.34 percent combined.