Google accused of manipulating search results to favor its own products

Shawn Knight

Posts: 13,000   +130
Staff member

A leading academia has presented a paper which claims Google prioritizes its own services over competitors when performing local searches. If the European Union was looking for more ammunition to fuel its antitrust case against Google, this would certainly be it.

Columbia Law School processor Tim Wu, responsible for coining the term “net neutrality,” co-authored the paper alongside Michael Luca of the Harvard Business School and the data team at Yelp. It was presented at Oxford University’ Antitrust Enforcement Symposium this past weekend.

As Bloomberg notes, Google has long since maintained that it creates better experiences for its users by supplying its own answers to queries at the top of search results. In many cases, like asking the answer to a math calculation or when converting currency, Google’s answers are indeed helpful to end-users according to Wu.

It’s when asking specific subjective questions, like what’s the best pediatrician in San Francisco, that trouble arises.

The data team at Yelp conducted a series of blind A/B testing on Internet users in which half were shown Google’s typical results while the others received modified results that showed the most relevant external listings according to Google’s algorithm.

Yelp concludes that users were 45 percent more likely to pick the modified merit-based search results. Whether or not more clicks equates to better search results, however, is up in the air and will likely play a role in Google’s defense.

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Posts: 1,423   +347
OMG a company putting their own products before their own... shocker...

Why hasnt apple been accused of only showing their products on apples site?

If your gonna accuse another company for putting its own products before its own then you best be ready to accuse every company in the world.


Are they not suppose to? Seems like commonsense to promote your products through your own service...


Posts: 982   +339
Are they not suppose to? Seems like commonsense to promote your products through your own service...
Not in the EU, there you MUST put your competitors products above your own for the good of the people... or something.

Chris Just

Posts: 32   +3
The EU can go suck eggs! Google is a American company and we put our profit above any others, to do as the EU wants would be as unAmerican as it could get! If the EU does not like it they can build their own search engine and list results any dam way they want to. Other country's need to quit using US company products and then bitching about it when it is not what they want!


Posts: 1,215   +177
I walked into a car dealer to search for a new car. I'm upset that they didn't recommend another manufacture's vehicle! The next time I walk into Ford, I expect to leave with a brand new BMW. Grr!


This is a last ditch effort by Yelp to accuse Google of undermining a business in which it has yet to make a real profit. Everything Yelp says about Google, it itself does. Yelp seo bullies businesses, hides their content, degrades consumer experiences and charges businesses to play. Its the pot calling the kettle black.