Google Inc. (NASDAQ:GOOG) has been accused of manipulating its search results to favor its own services and products. The researchers at the Columbia Law School, Harvard Business School along with Yelp’s Science Data Team have published a research paper, which shows how Google has been skewing the search results and the consequences faced by consumers due this act of antitrust.
It’s not the first time the search giant has been accused of manipulating the results. Earlier, the company has been a part of various antitrust investigations related to the manipulation of search results, complained by various organizations. Google is preparing to release a response to the European Union investigation, where similar complaints have been submitted related to Google’s shopping-comparison product.
In all those accusations and investigations, the lack evidence made the company escape from severe damage through fines. However, this time the researchers have collected enough evidences that can prove Google’s guilty.
Now the Yelp Science Data team has partnered with the Rockstar legal expert in the US Tim Wu, who has also popularized the net neutrality concept in the US, to release the detailed research paper to show Google’s illegal practice and the effects on its users to access the useful information from the web. According the findings, Google Search users have only 45 percent chance of getting the useful and needful results in organic search.
The study also suggests that by dominating on the web search business, Google damages the social welfare by providing bad search results, including links to its own products and services. Although, its products and services are not as bad as anyone think, we all know how Yelp and Google continuously fighting over local search categories, especially, location, food and hotels. The study also claims that Google wasn’t provided help to its users, nor merchants, as they claim in its policy.
But, according to ZDNet, the research paper submitted by the Yelp and team relies user engagement directly with clicks. And Google Inc might argue that if its search engine gives results with a glance, it would be saving many clicks from the users, it might also argue that the search results at glance also affect its advertising business.
Meanwhile, Kent Walker, Google’s general counsel, defended Google Inc against the antitrust accusations posted online, through an internal document, where he said that the internet users have many options for their search queries such as Bing, Yahoo, DuckDuckGo, Quora, as well as voice assistant applications like Apple Siri and Microsoft Cortana. Walker even told that people use social networking sites like Facebook, Twitter and Reddit to get suggestions, information and news.
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