July 01, 2015

Google apparently manipulating search results


Faced with competition from specialty search services like Yelp, Expedia, TripAdvisor and others, Google's response has been to first create clones of these services and then use its search engine dominance to play up those services, claims a new report published this week.

Google knowingly manipulates search results according to a research paper published Monday from several academics. The study presents evidence that the search giant sets out to hamper competitors and limit consumers’ options.

The paper lands as Google prepares to release its response to the European Union investigation, which rests on similar claims about Google’s comparison-shopping product.

The paper was authored by Tim Wu, the legal scholar and former FTC adviser, which is notable as he had previously penned a column in the New Republic saying that Google had successfully cleared a Federal Trade Commission investigation into search bias on its own merits, and not because of its lobbying prowess.

Now, two years later, Wu is making an about-face.

“When the facts change, your thinking should change,” Wu told Re/code about the evolution of his stance. “The main surprising and shocking realization is that Google is not presenting its best product. In fact, it’s presenting a version of the product that’s degraded and intentionally worse for consumers.”

He added: “This is the closest I’ve seen Google come to [being] the Microsoft case.”

Get the full story at Re/code

Read also "Google disputes report that it manipulates search results" at eWeek and "Google Rivals Score a Powerful Convert in the Search War" at The Motley Fool