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Aww, how cute

Last week the six biggest operators – Alphabet, Amazon, Apple, Meta, Microsoft and ByteDance – were forced to toe the line on competition, advertising, interoperability and more. It was a gamechanger

Apparently passing a bit of regulation solves global problems.

The act imposes serious obligations: companies will have to allow third-party apps and app stores on their platforms; provide transparent advertising data; allow users to easily uninstall pre-installed software or apps; enable interoperability between different messaging services, social networks, and other services, allowing users to communicate seamlessly across platforms; and be more transparent about how their algorithms rank and recommend content, products and services.

It also prohibits certain practices by gatekeepers: favouring their own services over third-party ones, for example; engaging in self-preferential activities; and using private data from business users to compete against them. In other words, an end to tech business as usual.

The major effect so far – for me at least – is that Google Maps is no longer clickable from the Google search page. That’s improved my life no end.


37 thoughts on “Aww, how cute”

  1. ’…enable interoperability between different messaging services, social networks, and other services, allowing users to communicate seamlessly across platforms…’

    Since I have to type my handle, email and website every single time I want to comment here (the ‘save my details button doesn’t work) I might actually agree with this one!

  2. ? Julia. What browser are you using? Normally if you type the first letter, the entry appears in a drop-down. Click on it & it autocompletes the entry. Your browser settings on ‘do not retain browser history”?

    Same with Google Maps. If you’ve used it, type ma & possibly p in the browser address bar & appears in the drop-down.

    But amazing how many people always access web pages from a Google search. A lot of them seem to think the entire internet happens on Google. Like I ask people to send me a link to a w/s & they send the frikking Google search link.

  3. Imagine the insistence that cars were interoperable between different fuel types.
    Batteries had to be demountable so you could drop in a 500cc kerosene motorbike engine, or 1 litre petrol engine instead. Or even cycling pedals when there is no fuel type anywhere.
    But cars are made in the EU so you wouldn’t try that.

  4. Hmm!! I was able to access google maps. And I can access my name and email address here.

    But perhaps this is because my computer can’t take the latest version of windows?

  5. enable interoperability between different messaging services, social networks, and other services
    Love these statements. Who is going to fund this massive piece of programming that will need to be performed by several corporations? There are already standard APIs that allow this with some messaging Apps but of course you will not be surprised to hear there are more than one of these standards. They are supported by volunteers. The others X, err… Y and Z use proprietary software and will want others to use their API so they don’t need to do anything. The best bit is that most are based in the US so don’t need to change much. Will be interesting to see how they respond. If X really going to allow TikTok to access its Tweets (Are they still called tweets now?) and reduce its revenue.

    The world is burning, people are dying, we are approaching WWIII and these politicians are focusing on the critical items. What a bunch of tossers.

    Dropdowns work for me. I’m on Firefox

  6. @Lord T
    As ever, they’re legislating for laziness. It’s not necessary to use Play Store on Android. If you want an app, download the .apk & run it. But most people who use the interweb are lazy & thick as pig-shit. And that’s without mentioning Apple users.

  7. There is already full interoperability between email systems

    Why does there need to be any between messaging systems?

    Or is the real target here messaging systems the EU nose-poker-inners cannot spy on?

  8. Bongo:
    “Imagine the insistence that cars were interoperable between different fuel types.”

    There was an attempt a while ago to legislate that in the US. The idea was to have an auto that could use any mix of methanol, ethanol or gasoline/petrol via changes in fuel injection and timing. It was perfectly possible, with an estimated cost of about $50 per car (at least at first, it would probably have come down).
    I suspect that diesel might have been a stretch (and since much of the impetus was to help prevent gorbal waming, likely not seen as helpful).

    Did it pass? Of course not.

  9. My tablet with Firefox autofills my name and email, but my windows Firefox doesn’t.

    I’m not too bothered typing it in because all my browser data is deleted anyway. The autofill is an Android fearure rather thaf FFx.

  10. Another regulatory success. Remember what we said about China removing cost from the global economy, while the West adds cost through Net Zero and DEI:

    DEI killed the CHIPS Act

    DEI — the identity-obsessed dogma that goes by “diversity, equity, and inclusion” — has now trained Google’s new AI to refuse to draw white people. What’s even more alarming is that it’s also infected the supply chain that makes the chips powering everything from AI to missiles, endangering national security.

    The Biden administration recently promised it will finally loosen the purse strings on $39 billion of CHIPS Act grants to encourage semiconductor fabrication in the U.S. But less than a week later, Intel announced that it’s putting the brakes on its Columbus factory. The Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) has pushed back production at its second Arizona foundry. The remaining major chipmaker, Samsung, just delayed its first Texas fab.

    This is the stuff declining empires are made of. As America pursues national security by building a diverse workforce, China does it by building warships.

    The CHIPS Act’s current identity as a jobs program for favored minorities means companies are forced to recruit heavily from every population except white and Asian men already trained in the field. It’s like fishing in all the places you aren’t getting bites.

    TL;DR, chip companies are tired of being forced to hire Shaneequa and the rest of the American Negro Brains Trust to qualify for subsidies in the Senile Pedo Regime, are backing out of the US and building in Poland, Israel, Korea and Japan instead.

  11. There are variants of ‘autofill’
    a. your browser saves a cookie, this will not work if you have set your browser in ‘private’ mode and thus delete cookies on exit;
    b. you ‘save logins for future use’ this can be managed by ‘saved passwords’, logins may be saved automatically but that does not always work.

  12. All these messaging platforms are already fully interoperable, with enhanced human-reviewed security features to ensure no unwarranted data leakage between platforms. It’s called copy & paste.

  13. Yup, can confirm that “it just works” only applies in Apple world. Having autofill enabled in Safari, and ticking the box here to save name and email for next time leads to no joy on my MacBook. Tippety tap every time.

    One more reason amongst many it sits unused most of the time. Shame really; the M1 hardware is terrific but MacOS is an abomination that survives only because of the peculiar fanboy nature of the user base.

  14. Just imagine! The horrendous expectation that I should be able to place a phone call as a TeleWest subscriber and connect to a Bell Home subscriber, or even – HORROR! – a NTT subscriber!

    But seriously, it’s irrelevant what telephone service you use it just goes through, it’s irrelevant what email service you use it just goes through, it should be similarly irrelevant what social media you use it should just damn well go through.

    The telephone example really did previously exist. In the early days people often did really have several telephones in order to be able to connect to people on different networks. There’s a line in an early Heinlein set around 1890 about having three phones in the office so the character could contact customers and suppliers on any network.

    The internet was *specifically* designed with the knowledge of this to *SPECIFICALLY* *by* *design* /*AVOID*/ this.

  15. Correction, it does work in Firefox on Mac, at least sometimes. Maybe you have to tick that box every time.

  16. Theophrastus (2066)

    I am with JuliaM. This is the only website I visit where autofill doesn’t work, and I’m using Chrome for Android.

  17. iPhone and Windows user. It’s never saved my email address I have to type in every time.

    The EU drafted this directive on account of Apple having a monopoly in the EU. They don’t, they have a 30% marketshare. I was told by some insufferable nerd on some tech forum that a company doesn’t have to have market dominance to have a monopoly. Lol! He was obviously very pro EU and was under the impression that we literally couldn’t function as a nation without their wise guidance.

  18. PJF: ‘Hah hah, Julia uses a Ma-aac.’

    Ooof. No! Heaven forbid. You can’t play games on a Mac. It’s PC all the way for me, plus iPhone and ipad. Or Kindle Fire, as I’m using now, and that doesn’t save my details either.

  19. PJF

    I use a Mac so you can mock me if it scratches an itch for you.
    In fact several Macs. A laptop for work (I need to carry it around); a Studio to manage the dumb RAID local backups; a Mini in Normandy to do the same when I’m there. Plus six or seven old Macs for loan/gift to others.

    Strangely, a refurb Studio is much cheaper than a refurb Mini.

  20. @Lord T – “Who is going to fund this massive piece of programming”

    The massive piece of programming is that which created all these incompatible ways of communicating. If you want to save money you cooperate with others to use a common standard, preferable even sharing common implementations of as much of it as practical. If corporations have put a lot of resources into making their products incompatible, that’s their fault and they should pay the price.

    Note that free market principles are greatly suppressed in this area due to rules on intellectual property. While a car manufacturer could not make you buy fuel from their licensed garages – or even water to refill the windscreen washer – a phone manufacturer can force you to buy apps through its app store and force further retrictions on those apps.

  21. This is the only website I visit where autofill doesn’t work
    I suspect Tim hasn’t got the facility enabled at his end. Used to have several years ago. But went in one of the site rebuilds, just leaving the smile.

    @jgh I can’t think of reason why there should be cross talk of social media messaging systems. And many reasons why there shouldn’t be. It’s bad enough being obliged to use Whatsapp. The idea of the Instagram morons discovering my telephone number is positively horrendous. I’d welcome a pay-to-use system with open arms. Protect one from the trash.

  22. I use a Mac so you can mock me if it scratches an itch for you.

    I was only pretend mocking Julia, BlokeInTejas, so I could segue into revealing my own Mac ownership. I find the platform wars quite amusing and don’t mind being mocked for my choices.

    The tech corporations are massively cynical and there’s no reason to be a fan of any of them. Microsoft seem very likely to attempt to make Windows a subscription model at some point, so I thought I’d dip my toe in the Apple camp. As I said above, their current hardware is great but the operating system is a pretty dismal experience. I’ll stick with it for now for the education.

    BTW, do you also own a place in Switzerland?

  23. But perhaps this is because my computer can’t take the latest version of windows?

    How old is it, Boganboy? At the moment I think just about any 64 bit PC of this century can be made to work with Win11 with some basic fiddling at install, and only the latest build (24H2, currently in beta) will block the oldest (pre 2008ish).

  24. Windows 11 will work ok as long as your pc is fairly recent , but the hardware must have TPM.

    On android Opera here and drop down autofill works fine as does Firefox on windows for me. More likely to be config issue. Only website that I’ve ever had issues with autofill is ‘X’, which has a popup login screen that Firefox can’t seem to deal with.

    On the platform war issue – was never a Windows or Mac fan. Not wanting to be locked into the Mac ecosystem rules them out for me, but Windows usability has steadily declined (as if that’s possible!) to the point that I’m probably jumping ship to Linux after 11. Five minutes of using Win 12 on someone else’s computer had me wanting to bash my head in with a brick.

  25. Windows 11 will work ok as long as your pc is fairly recent , but the hardware must have TPM.

    No, you can bypass the TPM, CPU and RAM checks at update / install of all current Windows 11 versions. You can also bypass the “requirement” for a Microsoft Account, and disable the “spyware” aspects of the OS. Most, if not all, of the Win11 interface can be retrograded to Win10 or even Win7 designs.

  26. The save your name etc thing has never worked for me on this website either. I just assumed it waa because I mostly use my phone for news/blogs. Chrome on Android. Good reason to choose a short moniker and email 🙂

    BlokeInBrum, at the risk of starting further platform wars, in my fairly extensive experience Linux is fine up to a point. Used it for work, personal email servers, stuff like that. Desktop though, I wouldn’t go there. I have an Intel NUC running Ubuntu which is our entertainment centre, driving an elderly plasma tv. Works fine, but you constantly run into the true believers who make you jump through hoops because you want to play DVDs, for example. Oh no, that’s tainted by proprietary whatever, you need to install a bunch of special downloads for that. Or have stuff just die because you haven’t updated a particular library. Linux itself is an incredible achievement, and way better than it used to be, but usability is still not it’s strong point.

  27. @Boganboy, March 10, 2024 at 10:37 am
    Hmm!! I was able to access google maps. And I can access my name and email address here.

    But perhaps this is because my computer can’t take the latest version of windows?

    Same here. Maps is there. Here, click name box, name appears

  28. Thanks all for the comments and offers of help re my computer.

    The fact is there are:

    normal, rational users,

    people who don’t know much,

    people who don’t know anything,

    and then me.

    My computer wouldn’t work. So when my dear sister and her husband stopped by, they gave me the computer their daughter had discarded because it wasn’t up to scratch.

    It works, but it wouldn’t take Windows 11. I of course know even less about the damn thing than her husband Lyle. So I hesitate to meddle with it.

  29. PJF

    I’d disagree with you on the OS front and FWIW the the GUI front, since I find Mac being th to be severely less annoying than Microsoft. But that’s just personal choice. Alas, no property in Helvetia – but we have a little place in Normandy.

  30. I tried my best to separate out things that were “wrong” from things I just wasn’t used to. Interestingly, a lot of my frustration is shared by long term Mac users and there is an active third party industry making corrective apps to make up for Apple’s neglect and stubborn ham-fistedness. Obviously the same applies to Windows; there’s a lot of user effort that goes into reversing Microsoft’s ridiculous “improvements” to the GUI.

    Well, there are at least two blokes in Texas with places in Normandy. How many altogether? A known unknown.

  31. The Pedant-General

    There’s some wrong end of stick grabbing here.
    It’s not that they won’t allow you to get to Google Maps – it’s that a result on a search results page will not have a clickable link to the exact thing on Google maps. You have to call up google maps directly and redo the search in there. It’s just mindless irritating pettyfogging.

  32. @Sebalto – “There is already a market solution for those who wish to sideload.”

    Really? How does that work on iPhones?

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