US Senators accuse Google of search fixing

US Senators accuse Google of search fixing
Google's Eric Schmidt faced accusations of his company illegally rigging search results to favor his company's services at a US Senate subcommittee hearing yesterday.

Although some Senators were clearly on Google's side, the majority made thinly veiled accusations that Google's search algorithms, combined with their dominant position in the search market, violated antitrust laws.

Complaining about the ranking of Google Products listings in their search results, Utah Senator Mike Lee said:

I see you magically coming up third every time. I don't know whether you call this a separate algorithm or whether you've reverse engineered one algorithm, but either way you've cooked it, so that you're always third.

He went on to accuse Google of favoring not just their own services, but also websites running Google provided ads.

Most of the questions for Schmidt centered around the specifics of Google's search algorithm which, predictably, he was unable to answer in any detail. Instead his responses concentrated on the ease of transitioning from Google services to their competitors and their focus on delivering answers rather than just links.

None of that swayed Google's detractors, who argued that when those answers come primarily from other Google services they may violate antitrust laws.

Responding to criticism by Yelp's Jeremy Stoppelman that Google had removed his company's content from their search results, Schmidt pointed out that it was done at Yelp's request.

The issue, in Yelp's particular case, is a dispute over whether Google should differentiate between information presented from a general search and that from Google Places. Stoppelman doesn't want Google to show the page summary you would find using Google search in the Places results.

This difference of opinion paints a good picture of the dispute between Google and many of their detractors. From Google's point of view, Google Places is just their search engine with a different interface, while Yelp considers it a standalone competing product.

Nothing new came out at the hearing, but considering Google's search dominance, the success of Android, and their recent decision to purchase Motorola Mobility, chances are everything covered yesterday will be revisited by the FTC and perhaps the Department of Justice in the not too distant future.

Written by: Rich Fiscus @ 22 Sep 2011 16:44
Google antitrust US Senate hearing search
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  • baxter00

    I'd like to accuse the senators of NOT doing the good works that we elected them to do. There are a quite a few more important things to worry about than who shows up first or third or 5 millionth on a Google search. Senators, how much money did you waste on this topic today?

    22.9.2011 17:42 #1

  • Mr_Bonez

    It it really against the law to try and save your own ass. I dont see Google doing anything bad, if I had the power to try and sway others to see things in my view then I would, Isn't that what lawyers do???

    23.9.2011 11:22 #2

  • xboxdvl2

    maybe i should be sueing my local supermarkets for recommending there own products,maybe i should be suing recording artists for telling me where to purchase there songs legally.sounds to me like a bunch of overpaid senators trying to dictate how google is run.maybe they should offer google some money to be first on the search engine lists,probably costs a lot less money then paying lawyers and it will stop them whinging.

    R.I.P. mr 1990 ford myself a 1993 toyota corolla seems to run good.computers still going good.

    23.9.2011 23:30 #3

  • llongtheD

    What a weak argument. I won't be surprised if we find out these politicians received huge contributions via Microsoft, Sony, and anyone else involved in their patent consortium. Big money buys puppets at the very top. I agree with baxter00, isn't there more important things to focus on? Nice autodesk ad afterdawn.

    If your fish seems sick, put it back in the water.

    25.9.2011 01:04 #4

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