The hurdles of investigating competition law decisions and the limitations of Google Advanced Search

Currently, there are not so many options for proceeding searches within competition law decisions, this should be done either searching authorities' websites or via Google Advanced Search.

This demonstrates the limitations of investigating such a sophisticated area. To take the example of Google Advanced Search, a.o., the following hurdles probably look familiar:

  1. We faced recurrent situations where Google advanced search engine shows its limits, especially with sophisticated requests (precisely the most interesting ones addressing the specific situations we are addressing). Indeed, after a few words only, it becomes imperative for Google Advanced Search that the sequence of words appears as such in documents (or very closely), excluding potentially important documents connected to the request. Such a situation is rather uncomfortable in terms of exhaustiveness.
  2. Results are classified by relevance (as assessed by the algorithms) but Google does not provide any indication about how more or how less relevant is a document compared to another. In other words, we are left alone forcing us to manually review the long list of documents and make our own assessment if they are relevant or not.
  3. When we look inside the results, there are no signals to identify relevant sections considering the investigated topic. Furthermore, there is no indication of where are located the exact keywords (it is possible to work with ctrl-f but even if useful, this is not optimal, especially when you have more than one keyword). This weak assistance to explore inside a document is particularly annoying in an area where you are confronted with voluminous documents.
  4. If the engine allows us to select a website to investigate, it does not allow us to select multiple websites and therefore do not offer the possibility to investigate simultaneously in different environments. In other words, since it is not multi-channels, it is certainly not a single point to investigate in competition law decisions.
  5. There are no matter-specific filters offered by Google Advanced Search leaving us dealing with some generic filtering functions, not connected with the area.
  6. There is no possibility to be alerted about any new published information and potentially important to our cases. Indeed Google Advanced Search does not offer any kind of ‘watch function’ to inform us proactively.
  7. By clicking on a result, we go directly to the document itself but, in most cases without the possibility to see the extensive ‘fiche’ produced by the authorities about this case (which permits us to discover the related documentation). To do so, we are obliged to go to the authority's website and, from there, find back the extensive ‘fiche’.
  8. Ergonomy, collaboration and data organisation functions are very basic and tend to become very obsolete. Without speaking about confidentiality – which obviously can be a concern when proceeding searches via a public engine – there are obviously no organisation / collaboration features embedded, which creates troubles to retrieve former addressed decisions, work as a team and stimulate collective reactions, etc…

Those are few examples but the list is long.

The problem is that until recently, there were no real alternatives, this being easily explainable by the difficulty for publishers to deal with such voluminous, content-intensive, multi-dimensional and highly technical documents. Typically, a nightmare for traditional publishers used to manage data following a supervised – and hence highly human-intensive – approach.

This is no longer true…

Indeed, based on our powerful self-supervised and contextual approach, we have decided to actively improve the situation by deploying our solution on different competition law datasets (European Commission, French Competition Authority, Belgian Competition Authority, Curia,…) to render those efficiently accessible and consumable by the sector.

Not only, we provide you a very efficient way to investigate each individual sources but we also help you to customize and build a unique competition law database (made of multiple external/internal sources) that you efficiently and collectively investigate with our contextual search and proactively watch of any new and relevant decisions.

Our solution has thus broken the hurdles of Google Advanced Search and provides a new investigation experience in terms of relevance, organization and collaboration!

Are you ready to try? Visit our Data Hub and start your free trial or happy to further discuss with you at your best convenience about what we can do to facilitate your investigation in competition law decisions!