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Google Probe to Expand into Search and Android

In September, 50 state Attorneys General, led by Texas, launched an investigation into Google's "potential monopolistic behaviour"

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Google, Search, Android
At this point, the multistate investigation is focused solely on online advertising; however, as always, the facts we discover as the investigation progresses will determine where the investigation ultimately leads. Pixabay

In fresh trouble for Google, 50 US Attorneys General probing its anti-trust market practices have decided to expand the investigation into the tech giant’s Android and Search businesses.

CNBC reported on Thursday that the investigation has widened and Attorneys General will begin to examine whether the company has acted anti-competitively with its Search and Android software products.

“At this point, the multistate investigation is focused solely on online advertising; however, as always, the facts we discover as the investigation progresses will determine where the investigation ultimately leads,” a spokesman for the Texas Attorney General was quoted as saying.

In September, 50 state Attorneys General, led by Texas, launched an investigation into Google’s “potential monopolistic behaviour”.

Google, Search, Android
CNBC reported on Thursday that the investigation has widened and Attorneys General will begin to examine whether the company has acted anti-competitively with its Search and Android software products. Pixabay

“This is a company that dominates all aspects of advertising on the internet, as they dominate the buyer, seller and auction side,” Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton was quoted as saying.

“If advertising costs are higher, advertisers pay more, and ultimately that’s passed on to consumers,” he added.

Google’s senior vice president of global affairs, Kent Walker, wrote in a blog post: “We have answered many questions on these issues over many years, in the United States as well as overseas, across many aspects of our business, so this is not new for us. We have always worked constructively with regulators and we will continue to do so.”

Google is also under an anti-trust probe over a new Internet Protocol that could give the tech giant an unfair competitive advantage.

Also Read- Following Motorola Razr, Xiaomi Receives New Patent for Vertically Folding Handset

The US House Judiciary Committee is investigating Google’s plans to implement DNS-over-HTTPS in Chrome, a new standard that aims to improve internet privacy and security by encryption, media reports said.

The House has sent a letter to Google, asking if it would use data handled via new Internet protocol for commercial purposes.

The European Union’s anti-trust regulators in March fined Google 1.49 billion euros ($1.7 billion) for abusing its dominance in the online search market by blocking rivals.

“Google has abused its market dominance by imposing a number of restrictive clauses in contracts with third-party websites which prevented Google’s rivals from placing their search adverts on these websites,” the European Commission (EC) said in a statement. (IANS)

Next Story

Here’s Why Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey Prefers DuckDuckGo over Google

The DuckDuckGo Privacy Protection aims at blocking all the hidden trackers they can find, exposing the major advertising networks tracking its users over time

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U.S. Senate, Twitter
Jack Dorsey, CEO and co-founder of Twitter and founder and CEO of Square, speaks at the Consensus 2018 blockchain technology conference in New York City. VOA

BY MD WAQUAR HAIDER 

Twitter founder and CEO Jack Dorsey last week revealed that he has been using DuckDuckGo as his default search engine for quite some time now, apparently due to its stronger privacy features compared to other popular alternatives such as Google Chrome, among others.

DuckDuckGo claims that it is different from tech giants like Google and Facebook, which track user activities to provide targeted ads and services.

Experts feel that DuckDuckGo is still quite a small player compared to Google Chrome which is used by over 2 billion people globally for Internet browsing, but it can indeed be seen as an alternative for those who care for their privacy.

“One thing that makes DuckDuckGo different from other search engines is that it does not profile its users and show all users the same search results for a given search term which helps in giving out the best searches, cancelling all fake websites and click baits that can easily download themselves into our system,” John Dong, Director, Tenda, a leading provider of networking devices, told IANS.

Launched in 2008, DuckDuckGo’s search engine is far behind Google, with its average number of searches per day reaching close to 50 million, while Google processes more than 3.5 billion search queries a day.

But just because the browser does not profile its users, it does not mean ads are not served on the platform.

“It is a myth that search engines need to track you to make money on Web search. When you type in a search, we can show an ad just based on that search term. For example, if you type in ‘car’, we show a car ad. That doesn’t involve tracking because it is based on the keyword and not the person,” explains the DuckDuckGo website.

The DuckDuckGo browser features smarter encryption and private search — all designed to operate seamlessly together while a user searches and browses the web.

“We are proud to say that at the end of 2016, we surpassed a cumulative count of 10 billion anonymous searches served, with over 4 billion in 2016 alone! We are growing faster than ever with our first 14M day on Jan 10, 2017,” Gabriel Weinberg, CEO and Founder, DuckDuckGo, recently wrote in a blog post.

“In terms of growth, 2018 saw our average daily private searches leap 63 per cent, from 19 million to 31 million. To put things into perspective, that is 723 per cent growth in average daily searches since the privacy zeitgeist of 2013,” Weinberg said.

google, online tracking
A man walks past a Google sign outside with a span of the Bay Bridge at rear in San Francisco, May 1, 2019. VOA

According to him, people are actively seeking out ways to reduce their digital footprint online. For example, a Pew Research study reported 40 per cent think that their search engine provider should not retain information about their activities.

“DuckDuckGo has a point to prove. However, it is very difficult to get into a territory dominated by godfather of Internet, Google. DuckDuckGo has to do something really great to be seen by potential users,” said Faisal Kawoosa, Founder and Chief Analyst at market research firm techARC.

DuckDuckGo also introduced a fully revamped version of its browser extension and mobile app.

The updated app and extension are now available across all major platforms — Firefox, Safari, Chrome, iOS and Android — so that a user can easily get all the privacy essentials you need on any device with just one download.

The DuckDuckGo browser extension and mobile app comes with a Privacy Grade rating (A-F) when a user visits a website.

This rating lets the users see at a glance how protected they are, dig into the details to see who the company caught trying to track the user and learn how they have enhanced the underlying website’s privacy measures.

The Privacy Grade is scored automatically, based on the prevalence of hidden tracker networks, encryption availability and website privacy practices.

Also Read: Users to be Able to Order Apple’s New Mac Pro Soon

This alternative to the US-based search engine giant aims to expose and block tracker networks watching its users.

The vast majority of websites across the Internet contain hidden tracker networks, with Google trackers now lurking behind 76 per cent of pages, Facebook’s trackers on 24 per cent of pages, and countless others soaking up users personal information to follow you with ads around the Web, or worse, claims DuckDuckGo.

The DuckDuckGo Privacy Protection aims at blocking all the hidden trackers they can find, exposing the major advertising networks tracking its users over time. (IANS)