Changes to Google’s personalized search: repulsive abuse of dominance

Recently, I chanced to Google myself. It has been a habit of mine for a long time. Thus, I have grown accustomed to seeing certain results near the top, including my and FB profiles and this blog. I was not used to seeing my Google+ profile as the top result, featured as prominently as possible. Google is claiming that they are improving the search results. Bollocks.

I have usually called the antitrust allegations against Google bollocks: I have found that even if Google has been displaying results to Maps, Youtube, etc more prominently, it has been useful to the consumer. And I do not care about the little businesses who cannot make money because Google is offering a superior product. But this time they have another Buzz at their hands. They are stepping on the toes of the consumers, not other businesses. They have made the product inferior.

When I Google a person, I do not want the first result to be an incomplete G+ profile belonging to a person who usually does not use G+. When the person is mostly active on his blog, on, or on FB, I expect one of those to be the top result. I expect Google to use PageRank to provide me with relevant information, I do not expect them to advertise their own service simply because they want to take away customers from FB.

When YaCy was released, I viewed it as a cool and interesting proof of concept that would not be needed on the Lightnet. I found it useful using Tor, but I had Google to use outside the Darknet. I believed in Google. I believed they adhered to, “Do no evil.” How very mistaken I was… Chinese and Instant censorship should have been enough to wake me up earlier. The Google Buzz controversy should have definitely made it clear to me that Google is willing to opt for people having to opt out and they have no problems trying to increase traffic at the expense of the users. However, I still hope they do not want to be evil and thus I am going to write a letter to Larry Page and tell him Google should reverse course or I will never use it again. Never. Nevertheless, I do not trust them any more, and thus, I also intend to tip off the DG for Competition and my national competition authority. And I encourage everyone else to do the same. It is the single worst change Google has ever made to its search engine, and it must be fought.

I also intend to switch to YaCy for the time being and encourage everyone else to do the same. The virtues of being distributed and decentralized should be obvious, unless one wishes a deluge of poor results individually tailored to the one.