Google favors its own content and that might just be a good thing

If you google “Google EU,” chances are your top search results are numerous articles on the European Union’s  antitrust charges against Google.  I suspect the ironies aren’t lost on Google: (1) Its service is so good that it is the first source of information for about 90% of search users in Europe; (2) It is so pervasive that users have verbed its name; (3) Such great success makes it a target for European antitrust regulators; and (4) It is in the business of providing bad news about itself. In case you haven’t been watching, after five years of investigation, the EU brought charges against Google for what the EU calls search bias. In a nutshell, the European regulators claim that Google gives systematic favorable treatment to its own comparison shopping service in its general search results.
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Patent reform grinds forward, with some twists, as first patent statute turns 225

Last Friday marked the 225th anniversary of the enactment of the first-ever American patent statute, which President George Washington signed into law on April 10, 1790. Back in those days, the president himself affixed his dramatic signature to the very first “letters patent”: Samuel Hopkins’s “Improvement,” which consisted of “the making of Pot ash and Pearl ash by a new Apparatus and Process,” an invention our nation’s father personally deemed to be “in pursuance of the act, entitled ‘An Act to promote the Progress of useful Arts.’” Nowadays, the US Patent Office director and her delegates assess whether various claimed inventions truly comport with the patent statutes, while Congress and the president in turn ensure that those statutes align with the principles and ideals of the American system of innovation. In particular, last week lawmakers continued to consider modifying the original Congress’s patent legislation into a form less congenial to abuse by so-called “patent trolls,” also known as “patent assertion entities” (PAEs).
Reuters: FCC Chairman Wheeler, Barcelona March 3, 2015.

Chairman Wheeler’s confused rhetoric: The need for a good understanding and fair representation of market conditions

There remains great uncertainty, tremendous heat and inaccurate, sweeping language in the discourse surrounding the FCC’s new Title II ruling. Unfortunately, some of the most confused and confusing rhetoric is coming from the FCC chairman himself. As the leader of an agency that benefits from judicial largesse by virtue of its expertise, the chairman is doing his cause no favors by demonstrating a lack of understanding of the industries he regulates. There are several examples from Chairman Wheeler’s recent speeches of less-than-accurate or forthcoming statements, but I will focus on one that is particularly odd. Paraphrasing, the chairman’s meme goes something like this: We must classify ISPs (and more) as Title II to prevent the Internet from becoming like cable, because when I was looking to place pay-per-view programming, cable operators asked up front "'Where's our cut?' Access had to be purchased."
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What the Food Babe debacle tells us about net neutrality

Aside from paying taxes, few things are as frustrating as analyzing scientific findings on nutrition and health. We seem to be bombarded with contradictory messages about the risks and benefits of common foods and beverages on a daily basis, and fad dieting is a major industry. If the science of nutrition was well understood, there wouldn’t be best-selling diet books, just good old-fashioned cookbooks with an emphasis on taste, chemistry, and preparation like the original “Joy of Cooking.”