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The Register on Google: "We Can Copy. But You Can't"

Yesterday, the Register wrote “Google, antitrust, and the ‘Copygate’ hypocrisy: ‘We can copy. But you can’t.’” Intrigued we were.

The full piece is worth a read, but here’s a taste of Google’s wishy-washy position on the issue:

When the EU formally announced its investigation, ‘[a] Google spokesman told us that Foundem’s site was a problem because 79 per cent of its content is “duplicated” from other sites. And the company told The Guardian something similar, saying the site was de-indexed because about 87 per cent was “copied” from elsewhere.”

According to The Guardian, Google explained that a high level of copying ‘leads to automatic downgrading in its search results’. This seems rather odd, however, when you consider that Google copies its content from elsewhere. Part of Google’s defense of Universal Search is that it’s not showing its own content, only the content of others. (This isn’t true, but it’s the company’s defense nonetheless).”

The article sums up with “Google has started attacking vertical search services by suggesting that this perfectly legitimate form of copying is somehow illegitimate for all vertical search services other than its own.”

Just more evidence that Google is using any and all tactics to block competition when it threatens Google’s own business.

Given this record, a future with Google Travel, where Google copies the content it wants, and steers traffic to its own products over the products of its competitors, threatens a competitive online travel marketplace.