More details are emerging on the lawsuit against Google and way they rank pages. KinderStart, a search engine focusing on returning results based around childcare, is claiming that Google does not have the right, under the AdSense contract, to give KinderStart's page a rank of 0. Even though they are, in a sense, a competitor of Google. Some parts of their case seem thinly veiled, such as first amendment rights, even though Google is a non-Government company. Others may have some merit, though that will be up to the courts to decide.
It does raise the question of what Google can do with the content they provide. Being that they have written proprietary algorithms to sort search results and offer the service free to users, one may assume they can do whatever they want with their data. Some disagree, though, and assert that Google has to be responsible and “fair” with that data. The outcome will be very interesting and may set the pace for dozens of other companies that rely on search results.