Google’s “Do no Evil” mantra has come under the scanner over the past few years as it has evolved from a search company to a technology giant. Now, the European Union has launched an antitrust investigation against Google to examine allegations that it gives unfair preference to its services over services from other (vertical) search providers. Foundem, (Microsoft-owned) Ciao, Justice.fr are the competitors who complained to the EU.
The European Union intends to analyses several aspects, including search engine results page rank of third party services, the possibility of advertisements from competition being blocked for certain keywords, and also whether it is possible to export advertising campaign data to competing platforms.
Google has defended its policies in a blog article. “At Google, we’ve always focused on putting the user first by providing the best possible answers as quickly as possible”, emphasized the search engine giant.
If Google is found to have engaged in anti-competitive behavior, then it might be in serious trouble as the European Union tends to be extremely serious about ensuring free and fair competition. Nevertheless, in my opinion, it’s unlikely that Google would have purposefully violated EU norms. They have been under scrutiny over the recent past, and they had to know that something like this is in the pipe. It would have been foolish to risk stringent regulations and massive fines by baiting the European Union.
The reality of Browser Ballot Screen
Windows 7 Browser Ballot Screen went live for European Union, and as expected Microsoft is not ready to lose the game so easily. Microsoft is tracking user clicks and the algorithm to decide random appearance of browsers is also being criticized.
Now, Download Squad has revealed another fact about Browser ballot screen: 5 out of 7 ‘secondary’ browsers featuring in ballot screen use Microsoft’s Trident rendering engine! A comment posted by richquick in a forum has attracted attention towards this fact. Avant, Green Browser, Maxton, Slim and Sleipnir use the Trident engine, and hence 6 (including IE) out of 12 (i.e.; 50%) browsers provided through the Browser ballot screen are powered by Microsoft technology.
Firefox, Flock and K-Melon run on Gecko, the open source browser rendering engine developed by Mozilla. Moreover, Sleipnir provides an option to switch to Gecko, and Maxthon is planning to support WebKit in future.
Adblock Plus is the Best Open Source Firefox add-on
Firefox add-on Adblock Plus is the most essential tool to browse internet safely. Recently , Adblock Plus has been awarded the Linux Media Award for the best open source Firefox extension. Congratulations to Wladimir Palant! :)
Google Chrome gets Geolocation capabilities
Google Chrome dev channel has integrated geolocation APIs. It will help “location-aware” websites to track visitor’s geographical information and serve content accordingly.
Firefox Personas Are Coming To AMO Soon
Mozilla has decide to upgrade Personas by migrating the entire gallery to addons.mozilla.org (AMO). Moving to the AMO will integrate Personas with the Firefox ecosystem to a greater extent. Featuring in AMO will enable many existing AMO features with the Personas; like ratings and reviews, usage statistics, designer profiles for developers, support for more languages, tagging and searching etc.
Mozilla is also planning to add more new features to the Personas, like:
- Theme capability
- Dynamic Personas
- Personas for subwindows
- Self hosted Personas, similar to recently introduced “Self hosted Add-ons”
Heard about that union that’s been a bane of existence for American technology companies? Yeah, that European Union. Microsoft and the EU have been at logger-heads for quite a while now. There was the Media Player controversy back then which resulted in Microsoft providing a separate version of Windows for the European Union countries that did not feature the Windows Media Player, known as Windows N’. Having Windows without a browser would mean killing the OoBE for a user and as such Microsoft proposed showing European users a screen listing browser alternatives for the user to choose and install. EU accepted Microsoft’s solution and the ballot screen has started appearing for users. Here’s what the ballot screen looks like:
(Image credit: ZDNet)
NOTE: The ballot screen will appear if you’re location is set to a country that is a part of the European Union AND Internet Explorer is your default browser. The option comes via Windows Update, alternatively if you’re running the N’ edition, you can trigger it from:
There’s a web implementation of the ballot screen if you’re curious browserchoice.eu. The following browsers are included:
- Google Chrome
- Internet Explorer
- Green Browser
The browsers will appear in a random order based on an algorithm, of course like anything Microsoft does, the random-ness’ is being scrutinized.
While, I for one have been against Microsoft buckling under pressure to have a smooth Windows 7 release simply because this will set a precedent for others to start making noise and get a ballot screen for everything and taking this beyond Europe, which is exactly what happened. The European Committee for Interoperable Systems (ECIS) has come out with a statement that this ballot screen option should be made available globally because users deserve better. Here’s their statement:
Consumers deserve the same unbiased browser choice on all the world’s more than 1 billion personal computers
NOTE #2: If you’re wondering why Windows 7 doesn’t come bundled with a chat client and email client, well, this is why.
According to Neowin, as part of Microsoft’s efforts to ensure that users stick with Internet Explorer, Microsoft has started airing several TV commercials about Internet Explorer in the United Kingdom.