The Google Red Herring
The Google Red Herring
The Google Red Herring

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    Over the last few weeks, I've read a few sources suggesting that Google be subject to neutrality rules, as suggested by something called the Gonzalez amendment.

    Let me explain why I think the analogy its misleading — and that the whole thing is a red herring.

    First, the costs of market entry in the search engine market are completely different. I can set up tomorrow — I may not have that many customers, but I can try. The minimum investments for starting a competing broadband service and reaching any serious number of customers are far larger, perhaps in the hundreds of millions, if you can get regulatory approval.

    Second, the exclusive abilities of search engines are different.

    Last week, here in China, was been blocked all week. There's little work around for that; little I can do about it. Its a violation of what would be network neutrality rules, but I don't have a lot of options.

    Meanwhile, if Google features an ad for on the sidebar, that hardly excludes me from getting to Barnes and Noble. Even if Google doesn't return, say, Barnes & Noble on a search, there are other ways to get there. When broadband providers block, you don't have many options.

    In a phrase: infrastructure makes a difference.