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Christine Varney on Google as a monopoly

Relevant information at Why Is Obama’s Top Antitrust Cop Gunning for Google?

“I think you are going to see a repeat of Microsoft.”

Christine Varney’s blunt assessment sent a buzz through the audience at the National Press Club in Washington, DC. Varney, a partner at Hogan & Hartson and one of the country’s foremost experts in online law, was speaking at the ninth annual conference of the American Antitrust Institute, a gathering of top monopoly attorneys and economists. Most of the day was filled with dry presentations like “Verticality Regains Relevance” and “The Future of Private Enforcement.” But Varney, tall and professorial, did not hide her message behind legalese or euphemism. The technology industry, she said, was coming under the sway of a dominant behemoth, one that had the potential to stifle innovation and squash its competitors. The last time the government saw a threat like this–Microsoft in the 1990s–it launched an aggressive antitrust case. But by the time of this conference, mid-June 2008, a new offender had emerged. “For me, Microsoft is so last century,” Varney said. “They are not the problem. I think we are going to continually see a problem, potentially, with Google.”

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Google reshoots Japan views after privacy complaints

Google reshoots Japan views after privacy complaints
Wed May 13, 2009 6:09am EDT
TOKYO (Reuters) – Internet search engine Google said it would reshoot all Japanese pictures for its online photo map service, Street View, using lower camera angles after complaints about invasion of privacy.
Google’s Street View, which offers 360-degree views of streets around the world using photos taken by cruising Google vehicles, has already run into privacy complaints in other countries and activists have tried to halt the service in Japan.
Google said in a statement on Wednesday it would lower the cameras on its cars by 40 cm (16 inches) after complaints they were capturing images over fences in private homes.

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Bowman leaves Google with a bang

Not with a whisper…

I had a recent debate over whether a border should be 3, 4 or 5 pixels wide, and was asked to prove my case. I can’t operate in an environment like that. I’ve grown tired of debating such miniscule design decisions. There are more exciting design problems in this world to tackle.

Goodbye Google

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Esther Dyson on Google vs. Yandex

Esther Dyson on Google (vs. Yandex) and her preference of market forces for regulation of information on the Internet: Big Brother Google?

As it happens, I have a complex relationship with Google. I have fed at its trough many times – as a personal guest; as an advisory board member of Stop Badware, an NGO it sponsors; and as a speaker at its events. I also sit on the board of 23andMe, co-founded by the wife of Google co-founder Sergey Brin.

But I also sit on the boards of Yandex in Russia, one of a small number of companies around the world who beat Google in their local markets, and of WPP, a worldwide advertising/marketing company famous for its rivalry with Google. Finally, I’m suspicious of concentrations of power of any kind.

So I welcomed the chance to clarify my thinking. I took the con side of the debate: Google does not violate its motto. However, I do think there is a danger that someday it could.

A Google that is accountable to its users – searchers, advertisers, investors, and governments – is likely to be a better outfit that does more good in today’s relatively open market. In short, there is no regulatory system that I trust more than the current messy world of conflicting interests. Whatever short-term temptations it faces – to manipulate its search results, use private information, or throw its weight around – Google, it is clear, could lose a lot by succumbing to them in a world where its every move is watched.

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mishandled from day 1

Reuters: Japanese group asks Google to stop map service

AFP: Japanese seek to scrap Google’s Street View

Best read is this one-

SearchEngineLand: Japanese Lawyers, Professors Try To Block StreetView