When one has the power, one has the tools to manipulate and favor their own interests over accurate data and facts. Google is now the boss of all information, the Mr. Know it all of the world of internet, able to juggle with giant amounts of information and serve it to us as it pleases.
A new report states that the company is manipulating search results to promote its own services and harm competitors. The accusation lead to a controversial exchange of declaration, as Google says it doesn’t tamper with nor manipulates search results. Officials from the tech giant further declare that all search results depend on Google’s page rank algorithm. This contradicts all the findings of a new report that was sent directly to officials of the European Union.
The report was conducted by the crowdsourced review company Yelp, in partnership with Michael Luca from Harvard Business School and “net neutrality” guru Tim Wu, who embarked on an initiative to analyze the tech giant’s search results for content and displayed click rates. According to their findings, Google would first display links to its own services, such as maps, shopping and reviews, to the detriment of others that may be equally high in quality and popularity, such as Apple or Amazon.
In other cases, where Google doesn’t have business interests involved, the company offers answers extracted from what it considers trustworthy and verified quality sources.
The entire analysis was presented to EU regulators on June 26. Google is already facing European Antitrust proceedings, as the company is able to access what is called “a gatekeeper” to an entire pool of services and products. By prioritizing consumer services of its own, the company could be violating net neutrality practices.
Google keeps its firm position in front of all accusations and is ready to go to court. They say that their focus is based on providing the best results for all users, never favoring their own business. The line of accusations points back at Yelp, with Google officials declaring that “This latest study is based on a flawed methodology that focuses on results for just a handful of cherry-picked queries”
The charges coming from Yelp are nevertheless serious, as they could lead to billions spent on fines and new regulations for Google to change its business methodology. On the other hand, the impact could be beneficial for consumers and competitors, as for the time being, the general public may not get the results and products with the greatest degree of value, thus harming sales and profits for strong competitors that deliver top merchandise. If it’s true that Google harms consumers by promoting its own content, the tech giant must pay the very price for daring to manipulate the world of internet.
Image Source: lifehack.org