Google to face Australian court

Mikey 10 comments
  • Google
  • Legal and Law
Google to face Australian court

This coming June (2008) Google will appear in an Australian court to face allegations made by the ACCC that the aforementioned software giant has not done enough to distinguish the sponsored search results from the regular search results obtained from a search query.

According to Google:

"The ACCC's claims against Google are entirely without merit, and we will continue to defend against them vigorously."

I am going to have to take Google's side on this one. Have a look at and tell me you can't spot the 2 obvious sponsored links. If you didn't notice the links deliberately positioned to the right of the page, or the light yellow container at the top of the results, then perhaps the words 'Sponsored Links' would have given you a clue.

Watch this one closely. More at .

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Monday 26th November 2007 | 07:39 PM

Meh - just the ACCC trying to make a bit of a name for itself.

Bottom line: why the hell would Google care? They'd probably need to use a bit of Googling to even find out who the hell the ACCC are (or even where the hell Australia even is).

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Monday 26th November 2007 | 08:45 PM

Having an internet illiterate parent at home, I understand the ACCC position on this. Most younger people would take for granted that the highlighted and boxed search results are different in some way but I've had to point out repeatedly to my mum that these are the sponored links.

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Monday 26th November 2007 | 08:50 PM

Hi Laiste,

That's an interesting usability issue you may have raised. Though surely she can see the words 'sponsored links' as well? And if so does she understand what that means?

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Monday 26th November 2007 | 11:26 PM

Firstly - what should they do instead? Make the page ugly as hell, and have bright pink flashing text or something?

Seriously, how the hell is this the territory of the ACCC? An American company, operating out of America, on American servers offers users a 1st rate service, and clearly labels paid commercials as such.

Further more, they use a non-biased and non-bribed searching system UNLIKE MSN, Yahoo, etc who all take money for positions in the search. And the ACCC thinks it can wade in and tell them how to behave.

This is just one more typical, Luddite Australian government action, from people who have repeatedly shown a complete and utter lack of understanding about what the Internet is and how it works.

Off topic rant begins here:
But don't worry. Now Rudd is in charge we're all getting super fast 12mbit connections to our houses! Pity we've been able to get 24mbit connections for about 3 years and EFTEL is rolling 100mbit connections to the capital cities out in February 2008. Yay; another sterling move from bureaucrats who don't know a damn thing about what they're doing.

And before someone pipes up and says "yes but he's rolling out 12mbit to 98% of the population and I can't get 24mbit at my house..." here's the bad news. The capital cities are pretty much 98% of the population. And he's just rolling out DSL2+ (with a fibre back end, so before you get excited about "fibre to the node" - in this case you're not the node... the Exchange is and guess what? There's already fibre running between the Exchanges), so you're not going to get any better than you're getting now, anyway.

So basically, they take 4.7 billions dollars and buy exactly nothing with it, other than a federally funded catch up for Telstra, who are in effect a private company. Fantastic. Money well spent.

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Tuesday 27th November 2007 | 08:16 AM

The words "sponsored links" are too small for her to see properly. She tends to concentrate on the bold blue writing. Having said that though, she is learning.

I don't think Google should change anything, I just wanted to point out that things like this may be obvious to younger people or experienced users, but not obvious at all to older users.

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Tuesday 27th November 2007 | 08:49 AM

To a certain extent I agree with Rodney but at the same time I agree the 'sponsored links' text might not be as obvious. If I have learned anything from building web site with usability and accessibility in mind it is to not make assumptions about your audience.

And to be honest as the Google search results page is butt ugly anyway I could not see the harm in making the sponsored areas more prominent. And if it were my responsibility to design that page I would even include a link that describes why there are search results placed in those positions, and an option to turn them on/off.

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Tuesday 27th November 2007 | 09:40 AM

I'm on google's side. It is blatently obvious that sponsored links are just that. They're in a seperate secion, the font is smaller, and they are called, 'sponsored links'.

Rodney, you little bugger, it is fine for those of you situated in some sort of proximity to a city or large telephone exchange (where the D-slams are located) but for those of us that yodell and milk cows (sometimes while yodelling) in the semi-country and further out, ADSL 1 (max 1.5mbps/256kbps) is the fastest you can get. For us, 10mbps will make my heart flutter with admiration. Even though I vote '1' for greens, this was a very attractive offer, and I look forward to it coming to fruition... when ever that happens.

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Tuesday 27th November 2007 | 10:40 AM

But that's my point, Jake. You're not going to get 12mbit. That's the theoretical limit, not the practical reality. Although 24mbit is the theoretical limit, but Telstra being Telstra, plan to rate limit it by 50% so they can turn the limit off in 3 years time and pretend performed an upgrade... just like they did with DSL1, by "upgrading" us from 1.5mbit to 8mbit. That was a policy change, not a hardware change.

Labour is going to give Telstra 4.7 billion to upgrade their existing DSL1 DSLAMs to DSL2, a task iiNet managed to perform, nation wide, for 30 million, privately. Then you're still going to be too far away from the exchange (max distance = 3km) to get DSL2 speeds, anyway. So basically, after spending nearly 5 billion dollars, you're going to get upgraded from 1.5mbit to maybe around 4mbit.

Until very recently, I ran a DSL1 and a DSL2 line into my house. Both of these lines obtained the exact same speed (about 6mbit). This is because I am too far from my local exchange to get any better, so the limiting factor isn't the technology at the exchange, but rather the noise on the copper lines.

What really pisses me off about this is if Telstra turned off the rate limiting on their regional DSLAMs you'd immediately get that speed right now, for a grand total cost of about 20 man hours, nation-wide.

So where the hell is the 5 billion going?

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Tuesday 27th November 2007 | 01:54 PM

Saul Trujlio's salary... I'm assuming!

Funnily enough, a melbourne university team have invented a product that can greatly reduce the noise on copper wires... actually, I may have read that on RustyLime.

I'm less than a km from my exchange though I apparently have the fastest speed possible from my provider (wouldn't be caught dead with a telstra account). We've been waiting for an ADSL2 DSLAM for bloody years, but thus far, to no availble.

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Tuesday 27th November 2007 | 02:20 PM

You certainly did read it here:

However of more importance (as in it's going to happen sooner), is the EFTEL VDSL (100mbit) roll out. This is scheduled for February 2008. If you want any chance of getting access to this, register your interest here:

And get your friends to, as well. The more people per exchange, the more likely you will get first crack.

Besides, iiNet and other will follow their lead, soon enough, if it's a success (which it will be).

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