Search giant on “setting the record straight” about skewing search results.
Google’s senior vice president Amit Singhal has posted a ‘claim and fact’ rebuttal of the antitrust allegations fired against the search giant for skewing search results to favor advertisers.
What prompted Singhal to “set the record straight” was Wall Street Journal’s recent article, “Google’s Monopoly and Internet Freedom“, written by Nextag CEO Jeffery Katz. In it, Katz called Google a manipulating search engine which “has shifted from true search site into a commerce site”.
Laying the fact down on that allegation, Singhal said, “let me be very clear: our unpaid, natural search results are never influenced by payment. Our algorithms rank results based only on what the most relevant answers are for users — which might be a direct answer or a competitor’s website. Our ads and commercial experiences are clearly labeled and distinct from the unpaid results, and we recently announced new improvements to labeling of shopping results. This is in contrast to most comparison shopping sites, which receive payment from merchants but often don’t clearly label search results as being influenced by payment.”
He also dismissed the claim that Google changes its algorithms to punish its competitors. ” As we’ve said many times before, we built search to help users, not websites. We don’t make changes to our algorithms to hurt competitors. We make more than 500 changes a year (each one scientifically evaluated) in order to deliver the most useful results for our users – and we now publish a monthly list of algorithm improvements. Every one of those changes moves some websites up and some sites down in the rankings, but the most important thing is that users are happy with the results,” he said.
Surprisingly, Singhal suggested that if users do not trust Google’s search results, they can simple use other services like Bing, Yahoo, DuckDuckGo, or Google Minus Google. He even provided links to each one of them.
Personally, Google has always been my goto search engine if I needed answers. I have never been distracted or forced to view an advertisement or a sponsored video. Of course, this is an individual case, and other companies that may get slanted from Google are certainly in for a loss. It is unclear if Katz’s claims are true or not. Google has been registered to answer to the EU’s antitrust concerns. They have till July 2nd to do so.