Google Knol And Internet News
To kiss Madonna or not...that was the big question on search this week. Read on to find out more.Best I ever had?
In the land of music festivals, Coachella
is the biggest of them all. With thousands of fans and celebrities swarming to the California desert to party, there’s bound to be a couple of surprises throughout the weekend’s shenanigans. This year, rapper Drake got a little more than he expected when he brought Madonna
on stage as a guest performer. The pop singer, never one to shy away from scandal, decided it was entirely appropriate to make out
with Drake–on stage, in front of everyone and, apparently, without his consent. The shocking liplock swept the Internet off its feet (mainly because Drake seemed horrified by the experience). Nonetheless, searches for Madonna hit 500,000+ and Drake reached his highest peak
in queries so far this year. But everything’s still good between the two: Drake responded
to the commotion on Instagram. “Don't misinterpret my shock!!” he wrote in a comment. “I got to make out with the queen Madonna and I feel 100 about that forever.”
We’re willing to bet that pro golfer Jordan Spieth
is having the best week of his life after he won
the Masters Tournament and became the competition's second youngest winner after Tiger Woods at the age of 21. Spieth took home $1.8 million
in prize money and more than a half million searches–sounds like a good day on the greens to us.
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Campaign season is back in full force this week. Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton
revealed America’s worst kept secret, announcing her presidential run with a YouTube video. Meanwhile, the list of contenders for the Republican nomination grows every week —Senator Marco Rubio
threw his name into the hat ring as well. Queries for both nominees nearly crossed a million as people turned to the web to find more details about their political positions and track records.
Back in D.C., the latest distraction came in the form of a gyrocopter.
In a bid to stir the debate about campaign finance reform, pilot Doug Hughes (illegally) landed a gyroplane on the West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol. The stunt is getting people talking
about how much money candidates raise and spend during elections and boosting searches for gyrocopters to an all-time high
Show me the money
Ever thought about working in the credit card business? Maybe you should reconsider your future plans. This week the CEO of Gravity payments
, a credit card processing company, informed his employees that he was raising the minimum salary
to $70,000–seriously! CEO Dan Price told the media he made the change as a way to confront income inequality. Buzz for the little-known company skyrocketed since the media caught wind of the announcement, with searches topping more than 100,000.Tip of the week
Can’t find your phone and starting to feel desperate? If you’re computer is nearby you can now ask Google to find your Android phone from your desktop. Just say, “find my phone” on Voice Search and Google will ring the phone for you. Just make sure you’ve got the latest version of the Google app installed on your device!
Posted by Jenise Araujo, Communications Associate, who searched this week for [dradonna] and [can i get a raise]
In the summer of 2010, Google announced plans to acquire the flight search provider, ITA. As we said at the time, while many people buy their airline tickets online, finding the right flight at the best price can be a real hassle. Today Google Flight Search has made that much easier. Search for "Flight CDG to SFO" and you get the different options right there on the results page. It’s a great example of Google’s increasing ability to answer queries directly, saving people a lot of time and effort—because as Larry Page said over a decade ago “the perfect search engine should understand exactly what you mean and give you back exactly what you want."
At the time of the ITA acquisition, several online travel companies—Expedia, Kayak, and Travelocity--unsuccessfully lobbied regulators in the US and the European Union to block the deal, arguing that our ability to show flight options directly would siphon off their traffic and harm competition online. Four years later it’s clear their allegations of harm turned out to be untrue. As the Washington Post
recently pointed out (in an article headed “Google Flight Search, four years in: not the competition-killer critics feared”) Expedia, Orbitz, Priceline and Travelocity account for 95% of the US online travel market today. It’s a similar situation in Europe too, as this graph for Germany neatly shows:Travel sites in Germany
Source: ComScore MMX and Google data (for Google), desktop traffic, unique visitors (‘000s)
We’ve seen similar allegations
of harm from competitors in other areas. And the European Commission today confirmed that it is sending Google a Statement of Objections (SO) regarding the display and ranking of shopping results.
While Google may be the most used search engine, people can now find and access information in numerous different ways—and allegations of harm, for consumers and
competitors, have proved to be wide of the mark. More choice than ever before
In fact, people have more choice than ever before.
- There are numerous other search engines such as Bing, Yahoo, Quora, DuckDuckGo and a new wave of search assistants like Apple’s Siri and Microsoft’s Cortana.
- In addition, there are a ton of specialized services like Amazon, Idealo, Le Guide, Expedia or eBay. For example, Amazon, eBay, and Axel Springer’s Idealo are the three most popular shopping services in Germany.
- People are increasingly using social sites like Facebook, Pinterest and Twitter to find recommendations, such as where to eat, which movies to watch or how to decorate their homes.
- When it comes to news, users have many ways to reach their favorite sites. For example, Bild gets more than 85% of its traffic from sources other than Google and other search engines.*
Of course mobile is changing things as well. Today 7 out of every 8 minutes
on mobile devices is spent within apps—in other words consumers are going to whichever websites or apps serve them best. And they face no friction or costs in switching between them. Yelp, for example, has told investors they get over 40% of their searches direct from their mobile apps.* So while in many ways it’s flattering to be described as a gatekeeper, the facts don’t actually bear that out.Thriving competition online
Which brings me to the competition. Companies like Axel Springer, Expedia, TripAdvisor, and Yelp (all vociferous complainants in this process) have alleged that Google’s practice of including our specialized results (Flight Search, Maps, Local results, etc.) in search has significantly harmed their businesses. But their traffic, revenues and profits (as well as the pitch they make to investors) tell a very different story.
- Yelp calls itself the “de facto local search engine” and has seen revenue growth of over 350% in the last four years.
- TripAdvisor claims to be the Web’s largest travel brand and has nearly doubled its revenues in the last four years.
- Expedia has grown its revenues by more than 67% over the same period—and recently told investors: “We're seeing increased traffic coming through Google Hotel Finder. It is clearly getting more exposure. And in general … the product continues to improve. And Google has invested in it, we'll continue to invest in it … From our standpoint, we're happy to play in any market that Google puts out there and over a long period of time, we have proven an ability to get our fair share in the Google marketplaces.” (Remarkable given their complaints.)
- Axel Springer continues to invest in search, including the French search engine Qwant, because as the company told investors, “there is a lot of innovation on the search market.”
Indeed if you look at shopping—an area where we have seen a lot of complaints and where the European Commission has focused in its Statement of Objections—it’s clear that (a) there’s a ton of competition (including from Amazon and eBay, two of the biggest shopping sites in the world) and (b) Google’s shopping results have not harmed the competition. Take a look at these graphs:Shopping Sites in Germany
(unique visitors, ‘000s)
Shopping Sites in France
(unique visitors, ‘000s)
Shopping Sites in the UK
(unique visitors, ‘000s)
Any economist would say that you typically do not see a ton of innovation, new entrants or investment in sectors where competition is stagnating—or dominated by one player. Yet that is exactly what’s happening in our world. Zalando, the German shopping site, went public in 2014 in one of Europe’s biggest-ever tech IPOs. Companies like Facebook, Pinterest and Amazon have been investing in their own search services and search engines like Quixey, DuckDuckGo and Qwant have attracted new funding. We’re seeing innovation in voice search and the rise of search assistants—with even more to come.
It’s why we respectfully but
strongly disagree with the need to issue a Statement of Objections and look forward to making our case over the weeks ahead. *Update:
An earlier version of this post quoted traffic figures for Bild
and The Guardian
, researched on a third-party site. The Guardian
data were for the domain guardian.co.uk, which is no longer the main domain for the paper. We’ve removed these references and we’re sorry for the error. Yelp has pointed out that they get 40% of their searches (not their traffic) direct from their mobile apps. They don’t appear to disclose their traffic numbers. We’re happy to correct the record.
It's hard to believe, but smartphones barely existed ten years ago. People used feature phones, which had very basic functionality, and were a nightmare for developers. The only way to build apps was device by device and platform by platform—Google had a closet full of hundreds of phones that we tested one by one each time we wanted to launch new software.
Android was born from this frustration. We hoped that by offering a great, free open-source operating system, we could turbocharge innovation by allowing manufacturers and developers to focus on what they do best. At the time, most people thought this plan was nuts.
Fast forward to today. The pace of mobile innovation has never been greater. Smartphones are being adopted globally at an increasingly fast pace, with over hundreds of millions shipped each quarter, and the average smartphone price fell 23% between 2012
. It’s now possible to purchase a powerful smartphone, without subsidies or contracts, for under $100. And the app ecosystem has exploded, giving consumers more choice than ever before.
Android has been a key player in spurring this competition and choice, lowering prices and increasing choice for everyone (there are over 18,000
different devices available today);
- It’s an open-source operating system that can be used free-of-charge by anyone—that’s right, literally anyone. And it’s not just phones. Today people are building almost anything with Android—including tablets, watches, TVs, cars, and more. Some Android devices use Google services, and others do not.
- Our Google Play store contains over one million apps and we paid out over $7 billion in revenue over the past year to developers and content publishers.
- Apps that compete directly with Google such as Facebook, Amazon, Microsoft Office, and Expedia are easily available to Android users. Indeed many of these apps come pre-loaded onto Android devices in addition to Google apps. The recent Samsung S6 is a great example of this, including pre-installed apps from Facebook, Microsoft, and Google.
- Developers have a choice of platforms and over 80% of developers are building apps for several different mobile operating systems.
The European Commission has asked questions about our partner agreements. It's important to remember that these are voluntary—again, you can use Android without Google—but provide real benefits to Android users, developers and the broader ecosystem.
Anti-fragmentation agreements, for example, ensure apps work across all sorts of different Android devices. (After all, it would be pretty frustrating if an app you downloaded on one phone didn’t also work on your eventual replacement phone.) And our app distribution agreements make sure that people get a great "out of the box" experience with useful apps right there on the home screen (how many of us could get through our day without maps or email?). This also helps manufacturers of Android devices compete with Apple, Microsoft and other mobile ecosystems that come preloaded with similar baseline apps. And remember that these distribution agreements are not exclusive, and Android manufacturers install their own apps and apps from other companies as well. And in comparison to Apple—the world’s most profitable (mobile) phone company—there are far fewer Google apps pre-installed on Android phones than Apple apps on iOS devices.
We are thankful for Android’s success and we understand that with success comes scrutiny. But it's not just Google that has benefited from Android's success. The Android model has let manufacturers compete on their unique innovations. Developers can reach huge audiences and build strong businesses. And consumers now have unprecedented choice at ever-lower prices. We look forward to discussing these issues in more detail with the European Commission over the months ahead.
On a leafy street in north London, next to a popular zebra crossing
, is one of the world’s most celebrated music landmarks: Abbey Road Studios.
Most people probably associate Abbey Road with the Beatles album of the same name. In fact, the studios have played a role in music history: if you can hum the theme to "Star Wars," "Harry Potter" or "Indiana Jones," or you’ve sung along to tracks by Pink Floyd or Oasis, or even if you own a pair of stereo headphones, then you’ve been impacted by the work of Abbey Road. Since opening in 1931, the studios have pushed the boundaries of music and sound, reinventing the recording process at every step. But until now, the famous crossing was as close as most of us could get to the studios.
Now, for the first time, the doors at Abbey Road are open to everyone. In partnership with Abbey Road Studios, we’ve created Inside Abbey Road
, an experience that lets fans around the world step inside the studios and explore this renowned institution.
Accessible via desktop, tablet and phone, you can explore every nook and cranny of Abbey Road with more than 150 different 360-degree panoramic images. As you walk through the studios, you’ll see YouTube videos and archival images from Abbey Road’s history—right where they originally happened. You can also play with pioneering equipment in specially designed interactive gadgets, such as the J37 4-track recorder that was used to record the Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band.
Throughout the studios you’ll find more than 30 stories, full of anecdotes and facts about the studios, like the story of Abbey Road engineer Alan Blumlein. Alan was annoyed after a trip to the movies, because the sound in early cinemas only came from one side of the screen. He went on to invent the concept of stereo audio—and sound and screen have matched ever since. Or, if you feel like being guided around the studios, there's an audio tour you can join in every studio. Narrated by producer Giles Martin, engineer and Head of Audio Products Mirek Stiles, and broadcaster Lauren Laverne, the audio tours let you see the studios through their eyes. Think of it as your own personal tour.
Inside Abbey Road is part of our broader effort to help people experience worldwide culture and places from wherever they are, whether it’s visiting the Pyramids of Giza in Google Maps or getting up close to the brush strokes of Van Gogh in the Google Art Project. Now, we’re taking you behind the doors of one of the most famous music studios in the world. Take a step Inside Abbey Road
and see for yourself.