I don't think the blocking of shitware is a problem per se. It seems that the objection is to the labeling of the products of others as "shitware". There are apparently rules that forbid Coca cola from saying "You should drink coke instead of that diarrhea water called pepsi".
I understand the motivation for these sorts of laws, but they do lead to cases like this, where our ability to call a turd "a turd", is questioned.
I would much prefer a world where there was freedom of speech even in advertising, and I will be responsible for determining if pepsi is really "diarrhea water", or whether a browser toolbar is shitware rather than the government. Think of all the human effort and time wasted in legal battles that would be saved. Think of all the kids potentially becoming lawyers, because laws and litigation are how we solve our disputes. Think of all the people who must think "Well if I heard it on the TV or the internet it must be true, because liars lose their court cases", even implicitly.
Google is not the gatekeeper of information. They are merely the most popular gate currently. They understand this, and it is why google search is still really good. Google knows that if they completely sell out and offer top search spots to the highest bidders (rather than what people are probably looking for), their customer base will disappear about as quickly as it came.
The "power" google holds in search is tied to the quality of the search. If that diminishes, so does their power.
I wonder sometimes if it could be necessary to offer the consumer a blended search capability, where searches are parsed from multiple sources and blended in an agnostic fashion without concern for any provider's business interest.
They used to have these back in the day (when search engines were terrible). You could search lycos, and alta vista, yahoo, hotbot, excite, etc, all at the same time. Maybe one of them would find what you were looking for. Then google came out, and everyone quickly realized that it always provided the best results, and we didn;t need these search aggregator anymore.
But that doesn't mean they won't/can't/shouldn't come back. Google's public API makes it pretty easy to include in such a search aggregator. I'm sure they wouldn't mind having their results compared with Bing, etc.
Any 1st year CS student could probably easily make one. If it is useful (i.e. showing the true results, rather than just the results from Google's sponsors), people will probably even use it.
Here is one example:
Taxi medallions create an artificially low supply of drivers. The price of these medallions is often hundreds of thousands of dollars. This lower supply of drivers also means higher prices for consumers.
The high barrier to entry is good for the people who already own the medallions, but it is bad for everyone else. It is especially bad for people who spent a lot of their own money to get a medallion right as the ridesharing trend took off. They must rightly feel cheated.
There is no reason to try to artificially lower the supply of drivers. Cities should purchase medallions back from drivers to help them recoup the costs they've incurred, and new drivers would be able to avoid a large cost.
It's like the bullies make an agreement with the nerds that the bullies will only be entitled to the nerds' lunch money on Mondays. Uber comes in and says "Don't pay the bullies anything", and proceeds to beat the shit out of them.
Yes, Uber is flouting "agreed upon" rules. Yes maybe Uber is a bully too. But the real problem is that the "agreed upon" rules are terrible in most cities.
In addition to the "illegal" things uber is doing, it is also forcing the problem of existing taxi regulations to be addressed. Other ride sharing companies that are not doing illegal things (probably some that don't even exist yet) also benefit from this.
Even if Uber goes out of business due to a failed strategy of aggression, we still need to fix all these horrible taxi regulations.
The thing people are avoiding isn't "television" (video dramas, comedies, etc). The thing people are starting to avoid is "television" (getting those shows via cable companies). I don't think any predicted the death of video as a form of entertainment.
The ideal situation is for all the content creators, to still make their content, but sell it to the public over the internet, bypassing the cable companies. It is the cable companies that need to die (or just be relegated to being ISPs). They just aren't up to the task of delivering media in the 21st century. They have stopped being a distribution channel and more of a gatekeeper for old people who can't use the internet.
I don't doubt that some taxi's somewhere are run well. There just haven't been in any cities where I have used them. The last time I was in paris, I was a poor new grad and just took the subway and walked. But I certainly will think twice about using a taxi in Paris. They are the sort of people who might pull you from a car and beat you.
I am all for regulations to ensure taxis are safe, but in lots of cases it seems the taxis are pissed that they needed to spend lots of money on the right to be a taxi, and are angry that some people don't have the same costs. I would be angry too, but the solution is not to keep a broken system.
Maybe a good solution would be for the city of paris to buy all the taxi licenses back from drivers to even the playing field in terms of cost. Maybe they can issue cheaper licenses to both uber and traditional taxi drivers at a more modest price. The guy I heard on NPR yesterday was saying he had to pay 250,000 euros for his license. It seems ridiculous but you look at other cities and what the taxi medallions are worth, and it seems reasonable by comparison.