In November the European Union launched an investigation over claims that “Google unfairly gives preference to its own services over that of competing vertical search services in search results.” Similar to the action taken against Microsoft concerning the vast swath of market share commanded by its Internet Explorer browser, the EU is concerned that the freedom of choice has been taken away from competitors in many areas where Google faces competition. The claim is that Google simply puts its own results in pole position regardless of quality.
This morning Kevin Rose sent out the latest edition of his Foundation newsletter. One topic: what stocks does he invest in. While Rose certainly is not encouraging anyone to invest in the same stocks he chose, one caught my eye: the Bank of Ireland. Obviously the “buy low, sell high” strategy is at play here given the economic turmoil the emerald isle has faced, but I was curious how low was low. With a right click in Chrome I searched the ticker symbol (IRE) included in the newsletter – an automatic Google search. What came up? This:
Yes, Google Finance is the first result and the provider of that nifty graph. But Google also offers four additional providers of that information. Is that enough? Maybe. As tied as I am to Google services (Gmail, Calendar, Chrome, Apps) I chose those over competitors because I felt they were better or served my purposes in a more convenient way.
For comparison though, this is what the Yahoo result looks like:
No mention of any other services, no links, nothing. It is however, on the bottom of the search results page, not right at the top. Is this strictly better than the Google search? Is it worse? I guess that becomes personal preference. Anyone looking for the stock quote will be pleased to find it right at the top of the Google results but more general searchers will receive a variety of hits before being presented with the Yahoo Finance data.