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Google Shutting Out Rivals, Claims Russian Search Engine Yandex 170

Posted by timothy
from the red-in-tooth-and-claw dept.
suraj.sun writes "Ilya Segalovich, co-founder of Russia's leading search engine, Yandex, has accused Google of abusing its dominance to shut out competitors in cyberspace. Responding to comments made to the Guardian by Sergey Brin, the Google co-founder, about threats to the open internet, Ilya Segalovich described the U.S. search giant's popular smartphone platform, Android, as a 'strange combination of openness and not openness,' and its Chrome web browser as anti-competitive. Segalovich said that Brin should explain Google's 'semi-open' approach to search competitors before accusing others of endangering the unfettered internet, and suggested Google was guilty of foul play with its Chrome browser, which picks the company's own search engine as default for users, rather than offering a choice between rivals including Yahoo, Bing and Yandex."
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Google Shutting Out Rivals, Claims Russian Search Engine Yandex

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  • by Todd Knarr (15451) on Saturday April 21, 2012 @02:22PM (#39757243) Homepage

    That's odd. On my machine I can open Chrome, go to Settings|Basics|Search and select from several search engines including Bing and Chrome will honor my selection. If the one you like isn't listed, you can add it yourself. Sure it starts out set to Google by default, it kind of has to be set to something, but that's hardly "shutting out the competition".

    • by firex726 (1188453)

      Yea sounds like recent claims by some other smaller browser makers made against IE.

      MS had to add a selection of browser in their EU release of Windows I think, and they included the bigger named ones; IE, Chrome, FF, Safari, Opera, etc... But then a buncha smaller ones got made because they were also not included.

      • Yea sounds like recent claims by some other smaller browser makers made against IE.

        Here's where you seem confused. They made claims against Microsoft, not IE. Microsoft has dominance in the desktop OS market and used that to promote IE instead of letting it live or die based upon it's own merits in a competitive marketplace. Google may be guilty of similar leveraging of their dominance in online search and search related advertisement, but not in bundling things into their browser (which has relatively small market share). Google can bundle anything they want with Chrome. It's when they b

        • by maroberts (15852)

          Chrome is getting to a stage where its share of the market could be regarded as significant.

          • by Threni (635302)

            Uh yeah, if by that you mean `it's the most popular browser`, which it apparently is from time to time (ie people are paid to use IE but opt to use Chrome in their spare time because it's shit-loads better).

          • Chrome is getting to a stage where its share of the market could be regarded as significant.

            Not in terms of either the economics or legality of antitrust action. Chrome is hovering around 25%. It isn't even the front runner, let alone dominating the market to the extent that it could be used to undermine competition. 70% is a guideline often used by regulators for when to start investigating potential antitrust issues.

            • by hkmwbz (531650)
              70%? No, the limit is well below that. 30-40% or so, I think. And the point is that Chrome is growing fast.
    • by bhagwad (1426855)
      Personally, I could never understand why Microsoft got into trouble with IE. After all, you could always change browsers if you wanted to...like most of us did. To my mind, having something as a default as long as there was an easy way to override it should not be reasons for antitrust.

      Now if Windows had disallowed or otherwise hindered users from installing another browser, THAT would be a different matter altogether!
      • Personally, I could never understand why Microsoft got into trouble with IE.

        Read an economics textbook. Antitrust and bundling are pretty common terms. Anything written in the last century should cover it.

        • by bhagwad (1426855)
          It's about not understanding antitrust laws. It's about me not accepting the definition of antitrust in this particular case. Every side has more than one way of looking at it after all.
          • It's about not understanding antitrust laws. It's about me not accepting the definition of antitrust in this particular case. Every side has more than one way of looking at it after all.

            The idea that there are two, equally valid sides to anything is one of most idiotic inventions of modern entertainment news. Antitrust has a meaning and a distinct purpose. The economics are clear and well demonstrated. The laws are clear in their restrictions and follow logically from the economics. The application of the law to Microsoft's actions is clear. Your acceptance is not needed.

            • by bhagwad (1426855)
              If it was so scientific, there wouldn't be a long drawn out court case with many reversals and appeals. Instead, we should all settle antitrust disputes using a simple computer program right? True, not all views are valid. That doesn't mean that there CAN'T be two views to an issue.
              • by hkmwbz (531650)
                The long drawn out court cases are there because it's possible to use the law to stall the process. That still doesn't change the simple, basic facts of the matter.
              • If it was so scientific, there wouldn't be a long drawn out court case with many reversals and appeals. Instead, we should all settle antitrust disputes using a simple computer program right?

                The lengthy nature of MS's prosecution had something to do with money, money donated to politicians who replaced the judges on the case with those those beholden to them. Money has always undermined the US legal system to a significant extent and there is a huge body of scientific evidence for that as well if you actually care to be informed.

                Every side has more than one way of looking at it after all.

                The idea that there are two, equally valid sides to anything is one of most idiotic inventions of modern entertainment news.

                True, not all views are valid. That doesn't mean that there CAN'T be two views to an issue.

                No, there can be many valid perspectives and opinions on topics. I never said otherwise. There is not, however, always two equally valid opinions on a topic. Often one

                • by bhagwad (1426855)
                  Congratulations on fitting me into one of your predefined stereotypes of people who assume that all arguments are valid like anti evolution crazy people or climate change deniers when I didn't mean what you imply at all. Do you get some kind of moral satisfaction by finding ways by which you can find yourself superior to other people?
      • by tommy8 (2434564)
        I think MS was prohibiting OEMs like dell or gateway or whoever from putting Netscape on PCs
    • by Baloroth (2370816) on Saturday April 21, 2012 @04:00PM (#39757929)

      I think it might not in Russia (some AC below posted a link to a bug report that said they disabled the first-run search selector screen for Russian builds). However, it should be noted this is not a monopolistic practice. Yandex has 62% share in Russia, while Google only has a 25% share, so they can't really be "shutting out" Yandex: Yandex is by far the biggest player already. You can argue about what Google should do, but not offering a selection screen is hardly illegal, because Google isn't even close to the majority player.

      Also, Segalovich claims that "If you download an application [on Android] it does not work if it's not Android marketplace." Which is wrong, at face value (I've sideloaded apps all the time), so either a) this is just FUD or b) he isn't conveying his point very well (actually, b is certain, I read what he is claiming and I still don't know what he is trying to say).

      • by Cyberax (705495)

        According to Russian laws it IS an illegal practice (the threshold for special treatment is 30% of the relevant mark, Google is close to it).

        Besides, it's a rotten way to compete anyway.

    • by shutdown -p now (807394) on Saturday April 21, 2012 @04:18PM (#39758023) Journal

      The story he was referring to was not about the ability to change the search engine in general, but rather about the dialog [howtonew.com] that pops up when you first run Chrome on a given machine and asks you to select the initial default search engine (kinda like that browser ballot box that Microsoft had to add in Windows to satisfy EU).

      Which is a nice thing - though not legally mandated in any way (but I bet it was a pre-emptive move by Google's legal department). Except that they then specifically disabled [chromium.org] it if current locale is Russian. Legal, of course, but kinda sleazy to do this kind of market differentiation.

      All that said, the code seems to no longer be present in Chromium trunk [chromium.org].

    • by RMingin (985478)

      When I do a "new" install of Chrome (without signing in to a Google account), it ASKS me what search engine to default to. I believe it was Google, Bing, and Yahoo earlier tonight.

    • Sure it starts out set to Google by default, it kind of has to be set to something, but that's hardly "shutting out the competition".

      You're missing the point, google sycophant. Chrome should offer a choice during installation. Not doing so ensures an uneven playing field.

  • Don't like what it does, don't install it.

  • by melted (227442) on Saturday April 21, 2012 @02:25PM (#39757277) Homepage

    When first installed, it lets you select between Yahoo, Google and Bing (so basically between Google and Bing, because Yahoo uses Bing for search).

    • by icebike (68054) *

      Once installed, you can also hit the Manage Search Engines button in settings and us any of dozens. (Some of which just offload back to Google, but that's their issue).

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Yes. But not in Russia, which is what this story is about. Source: http://code.google.com/p/chromium/issues/detail?id=81578

  • Chrome is free. It doesn't cost a penny. Nothing (not counting incompetence) stops Yandex from creating their own free browser that defaults to Yandex. And for the M$ Weenies out there who will surely object prior to getting a clue, the right to use Explorer is purchased when you buy M$ garbage.
    • by peppepz (1311345)
      Google is a for-profit company that competes on the ad market. It makes money out of Chrome (proof of it is the fact that they're marketing it very aggressively through paid banners). The fact that they don't sell it directly is not relevant to the fact that they could attain a dominant position in the ad market. In that case they would be in the same situation as Microsoft in the OS market, so IMHO they could be forced to offer a "choice screen" when you install Chrome, just like Microsoft were forced to d
      • by Anonymous Coward

        There is a choice screen when you install Chrome.

        • There is a choice screen when you install Chrome.

          I just installed Chrome with a user account created specially for the occasion. I didn't see that choice screen. All I got was a nag screen asking me to make Chrome the default browser for this user, but at least Chrome gave me the option of saying 'no'. If you click your way into the Chrome settings menu Google does offer a very basic "Manage Search Engines..." wizard that comes with four pre-installed search engines, Google, Bing, Yahoo and a local engine that specializes in my native language. You can al

          • As you search other websites, it automatically adds them to that search engine listing. Mine has CNN, Pirate Bay, Amazon, Best Buy, and a slew of others available.
            • by GIL_Dude (850471)
              It also seems to import some from Internet Explorer. I use Chrome, Firefox, and IE. At work, we have IE by default (and I need it for SharePoint), but I use Firefox for most stuff and Chrome once in awhile. At home, I use Chrome for most stuff, Firefox once in awhile, and I had to use IE to do my taxes (for some reason some add-in in Chrome blocked Turbo Tax from working so I used IE). Since I have Chrome sync my settings - it has imported search engines in my list that are internal to my work network. They
          • by zlogic (892404)

            Chrome collects search engines in "Manage Search Engines...". All you have to do is manually open a search engine and do one search, Chrome will then add it to the list.

      • by swillden (191260)

        Many comments here say that Chrome already offers such a screen; if it's so, then I think they're already OK.

        It does. Does IE offer a choice of search engines the first time you run it?

        • It does.

          That depends [chromium.org].

          (that code is gone in more recent releases, but it's been there for several months)

          Does IE offer a choice of search engines the first time you run it?

          It does [photobucket.com], but it's not straightforward - it basically asks you if you want to use Bing or "something else", and it will only show the selector if you pick the latter.

          • by swillden (191260)

            It does.

            That depends [chromium.org].

            (that code is gone in more recent releases, but it's been there for several months)

            Very interesting. There's no explanation in the commit that added it, nor the commit review, nor the commit or review when it was removed. It was removed just a few days after someone posted a complaint on the review of the commit that added it.

            Does IE offer a choice of search engines the first time you run it?

            It does [photobucket.com], but it's not straightforward - it basically asks you if you want to use Bing or "something else", and it will only show the selector if you pick the latter.

            I'm impressed they went that far. It's still a far cry from Chrome's three big buttons, making it look like changing the search engine is some obscure customization that only the knowledgeable or the adventurous should try, but better than I expected.

            • It was removed just a few days after someone posted a complaint on the review of the commit that added it.

              It was still there [chromium.org] in October 2011 (search for "ru"), just moved around a bit. Next revision from that is the one that removed it. So it was there from May till October.

              I'm impressed they went that far. It's still a far cry from Chrome's three big buttons, making it look like changing the search engine is some obscure customization that only the knowledgeable or the adventurous should try, but better than I expected.

              You'd be surprised at how efficient several billion dollars in fines [wikipedia.org] is at making companies behave better. No-one wants to be that next guy whom they can point at saying "he's the one that made the decision that cost us that".

              • by swillden (191260)

                It was removed just a few days after someone posted a complaint on the review of the commit that added it.

                It was still there [chromium.org] in October 2011 (search for "ru"), just moved around a bit. Next revision from that is the one that removed it. So it was there from May till October.

                October is when the complaint was posted on the review, and a few days later it was removed.

        • by peppepz (1311345)
          There's a choice screen before installing IE itself, so the problem is solved at a lowe level.
    • by hkmwbz (531650)
      Just like nothing stopped other browser vendors from creating their own desktop OS to compete with MSIE?
      • Did you even think before you typed? Ford could develop their own tires, but no matter how great those tires were, they wouldn't compete with a car, only other tires.
        • by hkmwbz (531650)
          But what if Ford was competing in the tire market, and some car manufacturer with a monopoly decided to abuse its monopoly to destroy the tire market?
  • by bogaboga (793279) on Saturday April 21, 2012 @02:34PM (#39757335)

    Google was guilty of foul play with its Chrome browser, which picks the company's own search engine as default for users, rather than offering a choice between rivals including Yahoo, Bing and Yandex."

    The gentleman Ilya Segalovich must be a very interesting individual.

    I have a solution for him:

    I think the time is ripe for him to unleash the Yandex browser to the world, why not?

    Good luck my man!

  • Wrong order (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Haedrian (1676506) on Saturday April 21, 2012 @02:39PM (#39757365)

    I'm quite sure that most people who use Google Chrome do so after finding out about it because they use Google as a search engine.

    So its basically the other way around.

    Moreoever, you can change the default search engine, so WOW, issue solved!

    Also the only reason I ever heard of Yandex was because I saw their scraper on my website. I had never heard about it before. I guess Google is doing a GREAT job choking them.

    • You wouldn't know about Yandex unless you're in Russia - they're a locally dominant service, much like Baidu is for China, but they focus primarily on serving that market. So all that talk should really be taken in the context of Russian market alone, not global market.

    • by Cyberax (705495)

      "Also the only reason I ever heard of Yandex was because I saw their scraper on my website. I had never heard about it before. I guess Google is doing a GREAT job choking them."

      Yandex is the most popular search engine in the xUSSR. It understands Russian (also Ukrainian and Belorussian) languages much better than Google. Besides, Yandex directly competes with Google Maps, Google Mail and other services in Russia. And quite successfully, in fact.

      For English-speaking people Yandex is not really useful (its ho

  • Google Chrome has always asked me to choose a search engine for as long as i can remember. Maybe they should include more search engines, but it does not default to Google Search.

    http://techhamlet.com/2010/09/google-know-about-the-other-search-engines/ [techhamlet.com]

  • by Animats (122034) on Saturday April 21, 2012 @02:44PM (#39757409) Homepage

    Google pays Apple $100 million a year to be the default search engine on the iPhone. Google pays Mozilla $125 million a year to be the default search engine on Firefox. Most Bing traffic comes from the default setting in Internet Explorer. Few people actually change their default search engine setting.

    This has some strong implications for the search industry. First, most users don't care which search engine they're using. Second, search has negative value - search engines are an ad medium that has to pay to be seen.

    • Curious, does Google pay the mobile carriers to keep the Android default search option as Google? Would be counter-intuitive, to me at least, as the phone integrates so perfectly with Google services.
      • by gl4ss (559668)

        Curious, does Google pay the mobile carriers to keep the Android default search option as Google? Would be counter-intuitive, to me at least, as the phone integrates so perfectly with Google services.

        no, they just strong arm them with access to early android builds and the ability to put google market& other google licensed wares on them.
        oh and there was this one android maker putting bing on their phones and now google is completing the process of buying them.

        integrates perfectly? the other services integrate just as well and that layer in which they do integrate isn't really core layer and why the fuck would it be..

    • search has negative value

      Your argument generalizes to the idea that any product for which the seller pays for shelf space has negative value. This occurs pretty much anywhere that distributor intermediaries have sufficient market power to abuse it, specifically where customers choose the distributor intermediary based on more considerations than solely which third party service (e.g. search engine) they offer.

      Kindly troll elsewhere.

  • I demand they set the default search engine to my new project, ButtSearch, immediately!

  • It's been a long time since I installed Chrome, but I thought I recalled a window popping up letting you choose one of three search providers as default?
  • ...you build your own free web browser and set your search engine as the default? Google don't have a monopoly on the browser market. Heul doch.
    • by hkmwbz (531650)

      There's an issue here, and it's one Microsoft faced as well. It doesn't matter that Yandex would make a browser just like Google does if Google is abusing its dominance in one market to take over another. Microsoft abused its OS monopoly to take over the browser market, which was a violation of competition law.

      If Google's browser is dominant in Russia, and at the same time "forces" people to use Google's search engine in Russia, that could well be an example of anti-competitive practices.

  • Yandex ? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Pop69 (700500)
    They're the ones who seem to ignore my robots.txt.

    Admittedly it may be someone posing as their spider, I blocked them anyway just to be on the safe side.
  • I have seen Yandex searching wide ranges of IPs for web servers. See: https://it.wiki.usu.edu/20111007_BeEvil [usu.edu] You may want to give some thought to blocking the Russian Google-wanna-be Yandex. They may have have flipped their 'Evil' bit. In 2012, you should not find public web servers by scanning for TCP/80 and TCP/443. If you want to find public web servers, you spider the web. Or ask Google. If you scan the internet for TCP/80 and TCP/443, you will find private management interfaces. You find printers
    • It's pure paranoia to think that a web (HTTP) crawler is doing something malicious by looking for open HTTP servers. That is like saying that a SMTP crawler looking for open mail relays to add to a blacklist is doing something malicious by scanning networks looking for open SMTP servers.
      • It's pure paranoia to think that a web (HTTP) crawler is doing something malicious by looking for open HTTP servers. That is like saying that a SMTP crawler looking for open mail relays to add to a blacklist is doing something malicious by scanning networks looking for open SMTP servers.

        Well, yah. But:

        1. We have closely monitored our part of the internet for years. No other search engine behaves like this.
        2. A University really, REALLY doesn't want anybody indexing all the things that respond to TCP/80. Again, Yandex is the only one trying.
        3. They pay me good money for that paranoia.

        And, yes, we also react to any other form of external vulnerability analysis, including TCP/25 scanning. It's funny. There is an endless number of hackers willing to find our vulnerabilities, but they almos

  • I have had to block yandex from all my servers as it indexes sites oddly.

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