On October 23, Open Internet Project, represented by its Chairwoman, Armelle Thoraval, and some of its members: Olivier Sichel (CEO LeGuide.com, Lagardère Active) and Benoît Sillard (CEO CCM Benchmark), together with Pascal Garcia (Secretary General & Executive Vice-President Solocal Group) welcomed journalists in LeGuide.com headquarters office, in Paris, for a press briefing.
This was the opportunity to introduce Google's search engine's newest tool: the Search Box (also: sitelinks search box). This box, claiming it improves users' experiences, is Google latest plan to divert trafic of users willing to visit other websites by putting forward its own ads. Google uses searched brands to promote its own services, at the expense of users, websites designers and digital entrepreneurs. Open Internet Project publicly sent Google France a formal notice demanding to stop abuses of its dominant position.
On the afternoon following the press briefing, Google France stated that opting-out the Search Box will be made available for websites. The media coverage was very significant in France both in general press (most notably Le Figaro, Les Échos, an AFP dispatch) and specialised press (Journal du Net, Next Inpact, ZDNet among others).
Open Internet Project was critical of both the content and the way the Search Box was implemented.
The Search Box is a new abuse of Google's dominant position. Google tries to divert trafic by deceiving them into thinking they can reach the website they are looking for through the Search Box and are actually landing on another Google's search results page.
Google implemented the Search Box with a complete opacity, without any form of coordination with heavily-affected websites designers or information.