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New Study Accuses Google of Anti-competitive Search Behavior 133

An anonymous reader writes: Columbia Law School professor Tim Wu — the man who coined the term "network neutrality" — has published a new study suggesting that Google's new method of putting answers to simple search queries at the top of the results page is anticompetitive and harmful to consumers. For subjective search queries — e.g. "What's the best [profession] in [city]?" — Google frequently figures out a best-guess answer to display first, favoring its own results to do so. The study did some A/B testing with a group of 2,690 internet users and found they were 45% more likely to click on merit-based results than on Google's listings. Wu writes, "Search engines are widely understood as key mediators of the web's speech environment, given that they have a powerful impact on who gets heard, what speech is neglected, and what information generally is reached. ... The more that Google directs users to its own content and its own properties, the more that speakers who write reviews, blogs and other materials become invisible to their desired audiences."
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New Study Accuses Google of Anti-competitive Search Behavior

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  • by alispguru ( 72689 ) <bane&gst,com> on Monday June 29, 2015 @10:13AM (#50011707) Journal

    Who knew?

    Seriously, I personally know the difference between sponsored and unsponsored links. I use the short-cut links in the sponsored section when the same place shows up near the top of the unsponsored section. Otherwise, I take those links with a big block of salt.

    Folks, Google is about as good as we can expect to get for a company that makes its money off of advertising-supported services. They need to be watched and called out when they do marginal things, but they aren't deliberately evil as corporate policy goes.

    Facebook, on the other hand...

    • by EStrat ( 174854 ) on Monday June 29, 2015 @10:28AM (#50011837)

      I don't think you understand what the study is about. It is not about sponsored and unsponsored. RTFA, or at least the abstract.
      Type "Where is the best burger near me" and you get google + results mapped, along with other hits using Google's algorithm. None of these results are sponsored. Google's algorithmic results, the study says (and this is true in my rudimentary testing), are NOT mapped. Consumers (and businesses) are hurt by this behavior.

      • by gstoddart ( 321705 ) on Monday June 29, 2015 @10:57AM (#50012049) Homepage

        Well ... duh?

        So, you ask Google a semantic/natural language question ... are you actually surprised that Google uses their own results to determine this?

        Do you expect an objective determination of this? Would we need a court to decide who is actually the best?

        You asked a search engine to give you a subjective response based on the information is has. Do you expect it to give you the results from Bing or Yahoo?

        So, yes, the subjective evaluation as returned by Google using their own stuff as a basis is skewed to their own stuff.

        Why is anybody surprised by this? Does anybody think Google is going to promote someone else's stuff?

        Search results are a starting point. But if you want to know the best burger joint, eat there, or read a whole bunch of different review sites.

        This seems to be a lot of hand wringing about the fact that some kinds of search results, which aren't based on objective facts, aren't returning objective facts.

        Hell, I've seen user voted polls in newspapers which were as subjective and broken just because the stuff in the area where all the bars were got reviewed more. So all of the downtown stuff was reviewed more. That didn't make it better, just better known.

        You asked Google to provide you what is essentially a distillation of opinions, and you're surprised it's not a 100% accurate set of results?

        I just don't know why people are surprised by this. Whose stuff do you think Google should be promoting?

      • by Wycliffe ( 116160 ) on Monday June 29, 2015 @11:27AM (#50012313) Homepage

        I don't think you understand what the study is about. It is not about sponsored and unsponsored. RTFA, or at least the abstract.
        Type "Where is the best burger near me" and you get google + results mapped, along with other hits using Google's algorithm. None of these results are sponsored. Google's algorithmic results, the study says (and this is true in my rudimentary testing), are NOT mapped. Consumers (and businesses) are hurt by this behavior.

        If I ask GOOGLE where the best burger joint is then I expect GOOGLE to respond.
        Same as if I asked YELP where the best burger joint is then I expect YELP to respond.
        I don't see the problem here.
        I have an iphone and I many times have tried to ask siri questions and get a stupid response.
        I immediately switch and ask google. I have actually gotten to the point that although it
        is easier to ask siri a question I find myself taking the extra step to ask google first because
        google is much more likely to give me a good response to my query.

        • I don't think you understand what the study is about. It is not about sponsored and unsponsored. RTFA, or at least the abstract. Type "Where is the best burger near me" and you get google + results mapped, along with other hits using Google's algorithm. None of these results are sponsored. Google's algorithmic results, the study says (and this is true in my rudimentary testing), are NOT mapped. Consumers (and businesses) are hurt by this behavior.

          If I ask GOOGLE where the best burger joint is then I expect GOOGLE to respond. Same as if I asked YELP where the best burger joint is then I expect YELP to respond. I don't see the problem here. I have an iphone and I many times have tried to ask siri questions and get a stupid response. I immediately switch and ask google. I have actually gotten to the point that although it is easier to ask siri a question I find myself taking the extra step to ask google first because google is much more likely to give me a good response to my query.

          You're missing the point, again read the article. Yes, we expect Google to respond, but we expect Google to give us the results drawn from the whole web using their search algorithm, not just from Google+.

          • You're missing the point, again read the article.

            Yes, we expect Google to respond, but we expect Google to give us the results drawn from the whole web using their search algorithm, not just from Google+.

            I think you're missing the point. The point is that if I don't like google's results then I will
            go elsewhere. If google stops showing me all the nearby restaurants then I stop trusting
            google and move on. People expect complete and accurate results and will quickly look
            elsewhere if a search engine stops providing this.

  • Ehhhh... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by cfalcon ( 779563 ) on Monday June 29, 2015 @10:14AM (#50011711)

    It's extremely important to have useful results in a search engine, quickly. Some of the worst offenders are when you try to define a word- the page is literred with shit links being like:

    Definition of “frangible” | Collins English Dictionary
    www.collinsdictionary.com English Dictionary
    Definition of “frangible” | The official Collins English Dictionary online. Comprehensive and authoritative, rely on Collins for up-to-date English with insights into ...

    Meanwhile, at the top of the page, Google has the actual answer (not every dictionary is shit, many have it in their summary text).

    So overall the fast results are what we want out of a search engine- the answer.

    • Re:Ehhhh... (Score:4, Informative)

      by NotInHere ( 3654617 ) on Monday June 29, 2015 @10:26AM (#50011813)

      And many don't want it inside their summary text simply because you should visit their page, and view their ads.

    • by mea2214 ( 935585 )

      So overall the fast results are what we want out of a search engine- the answer.

      Exactly. Google is a great tool but so many people have gamed their SEO that many searches come up with complete garbage. I wish there was a "this search result sucks" button to give Google feedback but that would probably be gamed in short time too.

      I like auto complete because it helps put together a proper set of search terms for those of us who have frequent brain farts.

    • That's all true and not even disputed in the paper (which is linked in the article). The paper doesn't argue that all universal search results are bad for consumers, and some definitely are better. What's at issue is "local" search, like looking for a doctor in your city. In this case, there isn't one correct "answer," there are a bunch of them. And what you probably want are doctors with lots of good reviews. Instead, you get doctors with fewer reviews who happen to also have google+ pages.

    • Re:Ehhhh... (Score:4, Insightful)

      by pla ( 258480 ) on Monday June 29, 2015 @11:33AM (#50012387) Journal
      So overall the fast results are what we want out of a search engine- the answer.

      This. Giving me the correct answer doesn't count as "anti-competitive", it means doing their job well.

      I don't go to Google to save me typing in "www.m-w.com" and then searching for a word - I go to Google because it gives me more useful answers than searching directly on almost any specific site. Merriam-Webster considers itself too digified to define "blumpkin" for me; UrbanDictionary has no such qualms. UD doesn't do so well in explaining "Pepe" to me - KnowYourMeme has the whole history of it even giving credit to the original author. None of the above has a good definition for "Mary Sue", but TV Tropes nails it.

      But, instead of searching on MW... Then UD... Then KYM... Then TT, and then who knows what else - I can just type it into Google, and bam! It gives me exactly what I wanted to know, and often does so faster than most ad-riddled pages can even load.

      Companies need to quit whining about free exposure, and instead focus on doing their own jobs well. If anyone really want to vanish from the Googleable internet, they always have the option of setting noindex/nofollow on their pages. Huh, I don't see many of these righteously indignant sites doing that, I wonder why not?
  • A company whose core technology is a search engine and knowledge aggregation that virtually everybody uses is using that technology against the competitors... Yeah, that sounds just like what a company who has a strangle hold on a particular market generally does.
  • by sjbe ( 173966 ) on Monday June 29, 2015 @10:21AM (#50011763)

    The more that Google directs users to its own content and its own properties, the more that speakers who write reviews, blogs and other materials become invisible to their desired audiences.

    First of all, the notion that Google is directing people to their own services should surprise no one. Anyone who honestly expects them to be an unbiased party is delusional. Google is an advertising company (well over 90% of their revenue is advertising based) so everything they do should be viewed with that in mind. Providing unbiased search results is a second order consideration at best for them no matter what motto they claim to follow.

    Second, is this really a problem? There are other search engines out there so if someone is unhappy with the answers they get then use a different one. Google has gotten to where they are mostly because they've provided a better service than their competitors. But there is very little keeping people using Google if there is reason to believe that has changed. Other search engines are only a URL away after all. I see potential for a problem but its a very small problem even in the worst case.

    • by bluefoxlucid ( 723572 ) on Monday June 29, 2015 @10:26AM (#50011809) Homepage Journal

      Wu claims Google's first informational result is a "search result", rather than differentiating between content and information searches. Google isn't providing its own result first; it's providing an answer to a semantic question.

      There are three types of searches: Official contact (what is the home page of Microsoft?); research (find me a bunch of information about lions); and simple information (what time is it in Brazil?). Google often gives any simple query related to a particular entity an Official Contact result first (e.g. searching for Windows 10 will give you the Microsoft page for Windows 10 first), and starts with a Simple Information result if the search looks informational (e.g. what is the national animal of Scotland?).

      Wu fails to differentiate, instead seeing a search engine as a research platform: if you ask for any topic, you are asking for a library of writings on the topic, rather than trying to find a specific and utterly small piece of information.

      • Good points. I tried your examples for fun and found that the ones such as "what is the national animal of Scotland" that resulted in a simple factual answer did not contain any ads. I've also done a number of searches in the past that resulted in an informative blurb that was extracted by Wikipedia, which didn't provide any ads, IIRC. I don't know if that's true in every such case, but it might be well be. If so, such results serve the user but don't produce any revenue for Google, except indirectly vi

        • by KGIII ( 973947 )

          Heh... Who knew? The Scottish national animal is the Wandering Violent Drunk - See also: Scottish kiss.

          Actually, it is the Unicorn. Really. I did not know that. I should think that would be the national imaginary animal but, well, see Scottish Kiss.

    • by tofarr ( 2467788 )
      The article is not asserting a problem with the quality of the results - what they are asserting is that it is a problem when I (as party A) as Google (as party B) a question, and google gives me an answer, rather than always going to parties C, D, E and F for the answer. Personally, I am torn about this one. On the one hand, I feel that if party A asks party B a question, it is not the right of parties C, D, E and F to be included in the process - Since the answer is trivial and party B is giving party A
    • Ignore bias for a moment. Google knows how google does stuff. It's easier to pull summaries for content you have detailed information on the formatting. And if you have the clout to tell other parts of your company how they should be doing things it's even easier, bordering on trivially easy compared to really quite hard.

  • by 140Mandak262Jamuna ( 970587 ) on Monday June 29, 2015 @10:23AM (#50011773) Journal

    Wu writes, "Search engines are widely understood as key mediators of the web's speech environment, given that they have a powerful impact on who gets heard, what speech is neglected, and what information generally is reached. ... The more that Google directs users to its own content and its own properties, the more that speakers who write reviews, blogs and other materials become invisible to their desired audiences."

    Then users will slowly realize that the Google's search results are not trustworthy and they will move away from Google as the search engine. The market will correct itself.

    Greatest asset Google has is the trust it has earned over the years. If it misuses it it will lose the trust and the company will lose. I am not saying Google will not engage in such behavior. All I am saying is, there are natural constraints and market feedback against abuse. So we do not need any serious government action to correct it. All that government sanction and fines and browser selection dialog did not cut Microsoft down to size. A competitor did. Google has good competition from Facebook, Twitter and other social media muscling into the internet ad business and search business. That will keep Google in check more than any remedy proposed by a professor, or a lobbyist, or a judge or a legislator.

    • by Holi ( 250190 )
      You seem to have this unwarranted trust in human nature. 1 Where will they go? to some unknown upstart? That goes counter the fact that people in general hate change. No I think the majority would continue to use Google. It is very hard to change societies momentum. Think about it, what term do we use to talk about searching the internet? What companies name has become a verb? And you think people will just happily move off to another search engine, I got news for you. Google's results will continue to get
      • by Jason Levine ( 196982 ) on Monday June 29, 2015 @11:56AM (#50012587) Homepage

        That goes counter the fact that people in general hate change. No I think the majority would continue to use Google. It is very hard to change societies momentum.

        Which is why everyone announces on MySpace about the new Geocities page they just set up.

      • Back in 2000-2005, Microsoft looked invincible. The shenanigans they pulled, deliberately creating OO-XML to dilute OpenOffice. Claimed there should be competition in standards too, conflated issues. It was a trying time, it was frustrating time. I could not imagine how it could lose, having sewn up the corporate market up.

        Eventually it was cut down to size. It did not go bankrupt or anything, it still produces enormous cash flow, but somehow it could not mess up the market as it was able to earlier. At th

        • by KGIII ( 973947 )

          I think there should be a competition in standards with the resulting best standard being used. That is not, in and of itself, a bad idea. Competition to establish a standard is a good thing assuming the judgment body is unbiased and the end result is the best standard at the time. Standards should compete on their own merit with good proposals being enacted. Why would standardization be based on which one gives a "feel-good" result instead of being based on their merits? Am I missing something here or are

          • Thanks.

            When it comes to standards, agreement to follow the standard is as important, sometimes more important than what the standard is. Width of twin beds, or diameters of hose pipes etc, half in inch? or 12 mm? INBD. In more complex products, be it engine lubricant temperature vs viscosity profile or HDTV protocol, we need some impartial body which has no dog in the race to set the standard. SAE for lubricants, ACM for ASCII codes, or IEEE for communication protocols. Further the standards should be fre

      • You seem to have this unwarranted trust in human nature. 1 Where will they go? to some unknown upstart? That goes counter the fact that people in general hate change

        Seems to me human nature is doing just fine: people minimize risk, and that includes not switching haphazardly.

        The problem seems to be with your dislike of rational behavior.

      • by KGIII ( 973947 )

        1 Where will they go? to some unknown upstart? That goes counter the fact that people in general hate change.

        Umm... But... Err.. Erf... Seriously? How, exactly, do you think Google got popular in the first place? I am not sure you thought your clever rebuttal through very well.

    • Your faith in humanity is commendable, but misplaced. Your argument is that companies that abuse their users and the trust those users place into it will lose them.

      And you even mention Facebook in your post...

      Seriously. Companies actually used to be bothered by bad customer reviews and tried to appear like they're user friendly. But by now they learned that they can essentially treat their users like garbage and they'll still come back. Pick any large company and you'll notice that their customer policy at

      • by dissy ( 172727 )

        Your faith in humanity is commendable, but misplaced. Your argument is that companies that abuse their users and the trust those users place into it will lose them.

        For what it's worth, it was exactly that which drove me away from yahoo search and onto google search back in 98-99.

        And I never did mind that yahoo search had links at the top to yahoo maps and yahoo games and such, nor do I mind google doing the same.

        It was actually the 20+ ads on the main yahoo page (top, left, right, and center) that drove the last nail in. At least on that one aspect, google continues to win by a landslide to this day.

        Yes it was mildly annoying when google changed their sponsored ads f

    • by Eythian ( 552130 )

      > Then users will slowly realize that the Google's search results are not trustworthy and they will move away from Google as the search engine. The market will correct itself.

      And that's why we need people questioning what they're doing, so that people have more information available to determine whether they should trust Google or not.

  • The top results in Bing are typically ads which can sometimes link to a virus just by clicking on them. Microsoft has to know the ads link to a virus, but leave them up there because they're getting ad money coming in.

    I'm perfectly fine with Google linking their own products and services. The only qualm I have with Google is how much they try and force you into Google+ everywhere you turn.
    • by cfalcon ( 779563 )

      I think you're generally safest accessing Bing search through duckduckgo (aka, just use duckduckgo- they pay Microsoft to use the Bing engine, but it isn't wrapped as lamely). The underlying Bing engine is definitely good.

    • by kqs ( 1038910 )

      To be fair, Microsoft doesn't know. Malware authors tend to have ads that link to non-malware sites at first, and change to malware after the ads have been vetted. They know how to detect when Google/Microsoft/etc checks up on them and serve innocent data at those times.

      There are ways to detect this, and ways to avoid the detection; it's an arms race. Google is better at this than Microsoft, so studies have shown that you are safer on Google than on Bing. But nothing is 100%, and sometimes people slip m

      • I understand all that. What got me is that I thought I was clicking on the top search result for an official site, but it was an advertisement. I simply couldn't tell the top search result from the advertisements. Bing didn't do enough to categorize it as an ad. I think they want you to misclick ads thinking they're legit sites to gain more money.
  • A free service that no one is forced to use is being whined about?

    Slow news day, huh?

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Start your own search engine. How hard could it be? :)

  • by Karmashock ( 2415832 ) on Monday June 29, 2015 @10:32AM (#50011861)

    ... search engine.

    It was really painful initially because bing used to be garbage. I would try searches on bing first and if it was failing which was frequent in the early days then I'd switch back to google for that search and then go right back to bing.

    These days bing and google do a equally good job so far as I can tell.

    All that said, I miss Altavista. :)

    I felt they were just as good as google in the old days. I don't know why google ultimately dominated altavista. They talk about their magical algorithms but every time they're explained in detail it turns out they're neither mysterious nor especially different from what anyone else was doing.

    Maybe I'm missing something. I haven't researched it extensively. I've just looked a few in depth explanations of the system as well as years of anecdotal experience with the various engines. Google became better than everyone else but that only happened AFTER they became popular. Altavista was initially as good or better. I think one of the funnier things to go down was the whole war over the google bar versus bing bar. Most people don't know this but the top search engines rely heavily on what amounts to spyware which is used to determine what sort of page you actually wanted to see when you typed in whatever into the engine.

    Google got upset with MS because they were supposedly copying google's results. But what had happened was that people with the bing bar were using google and so the bing bar learning from that and inputing the results into the bing system. Google accused MS of intentionally copying them. But it was just the stupid bing bar.

    Google of course does the same thing with Chrome etc... and of course the f'ing tracking cookies and javascript are ridiculous these days.

    No script and cookie monster for the win.

    • by cfalcon ( 779563 )

      Google is still the best, but Bing is very good. Altavista lost (at least for me), because it was filled with corrupt results. There's plenty of malicious websites who only want to create spam, and if you make a search engine, they want you to deliver spam for them. Altavista couldn't get that shit out of there enough. The core initial assumption on search engines is that people would write a page with product, a message, people debating, or something factual, and this became "race to the top of the sea

      • google had that stuff as well at the time as I remember.

        Link farms were actually quite common on the search engines until quite recently.

        • by cfalcon ( 779563 )

          It comes and goes. I consider it pretty rough right now, but I'm sure it depends on your searches. The value subtractors just have to mangle enough search to be profitable, but google (and others) has to handle all of their scramblings to be a good search engine.

          At the start, Google was crap-free, because no one had figured out how to target them and the low-fruit approach didn't work on them. Obviously, there's always folks trying to break the system.

    • I don't know why google ultimately dominated altavista.

      Simple white page, not covered in *blink> and other crap. That's all there is to it. Kinda like the old /.

      It's really very simple, sometimes good enough can be the best, but people don't often see this and must improve.

    • I switched to Google because they had a very simple front page. No massive background image, not covered in ads and news stories, no streaming text across the top. Just the Google name, and various doodles for special days. When on dialup or dsl, that matters a lot.

      Now, even though I have a high speed internet connection, I still use them for the same feature. It isn't a speed issue anymore, just the fact that when I want to do a search, I don't want anything but the text box on the screen.

      For this article,

      • I use a script blocking program to block the background. Also, I do the search through the firefox search bar so I don't even see the main site. I just see the results page.

    • by c ( 8461 )

      Google became better than everyone else but that only happened AFTER they became popular. Altavista was initially as good or better.

      From what I recall at the time, Google was initially a good quality engine, but Altavista had a huge lead in the size of their index. At the time, the size of your web page index was considered the biggest factor in search quality and ranking algorithms were... important, but considered secondary. Once Google's bots reached a critical mass, their algorithms won.

    • I felt they were just as good as google in the old days. I don't know why google ultimately dominated altavista. They talk about their magical algorithms but every time they're explained in detail it turns out they're neither mysterious nor especially different from what anyone else was doing.

      No they were not as good as google in the old days.

      It is not mysterious once the algorithm has been explained.

      It was significantly different from what others were doing.

      If you searched for "battle of midway" in all other engines, they would count how many times the phrase "battle of midway" appears in a web page and rank it based on that number. Google would search all the links in all the web pages that have the phrase "battle of midway" and find the most referred to site for that phrase. That is h

      • by cfalcon ( 779563 )

        You are greatly simplifying the search process used by the other guys, but I think your overall gist is correct.

        • When you condense a couple of PhD theses into four lines ... something will be lost. As others pointed out simple design, not loading it up crap, aggressively fighting link spammers, typo squatters, etc kept it up.
  • by rahvin112 ( 446269 ) on Monday June 29, 2015 @10:41AM (#50011923)

    Google can never be a traditional monopoly. If they abuse their status people will simply use different search engines. There is exactly zero cost to use a different search engine. This idea that we need to treat Google like ATT (who is a actual gateway to people they serve) is absurd on every level.

    The problem for these people is that they haven't been able to convince others to use different search or haven't even bother trying. There should be no case for anti-trust actions against an actor that has zero cost to switch.

  • Google can do what it wants.

    In legalese, that would be: Google is not an arm of the government, is a corporation, and is free to do as its company governance determines is in the best interests of its shareholders.

    Simply put, nobody forces users to choose to use google. There are plenty of search engines, some good, some bing, etc. Some don't protect your privacy, some duckduckgo. In the end if the choice is to use google there are advantages (they'll try to give you an answer they think you'll find usef

    • Re: (Score:1, Funny)

      by faway ( 4112407 )
      Hitler was FREE to do what HE WANTED, too. Simply put, nobody forces users to choose to fascist leaders. There are plenty of government, some good, some France. Germany's extermination algorithms have made this world a better place. I'm glad they don't have to appease anyone to keep offering that superior extermination! What is your point? Maybe you're the inferior one?
  • by TsuruchiBrian ( 2731979 ) on Monday June 29, 2015 @11:02AM (#50012105)
    Our taxes shouldn't be paying for a search that isn't fairly displaying results. Oh wait, they are providing this service for free, and we are free to use whatever search we want. What's the problem?
    • Google is free, but that doesn't negate all problems. I've always taken issue with the media and journalists on the matter of Google's rise to domination. Long ago to Google something became a verb and almost immediately the media latched on to that being the cool way to do things. Then instead of ever saying "search" or "use a search engine" the phase was always Google it, as if there was no longer any other logical choice. Google did not need free publicity and the media or journalists in particular shoul

      • Google is not the gatekeeper of information. They are merely the most popular gate currently. They understand this, and it is why google search is still really good. Google knows that if they completely sell out and offer top search spots to the highest bidders (rather than what people are probably looking for), their customer base will disappear about as quickly as it came.

        The "power" google holds in search is tied to the quality of the search. If that diminishes, so does their power.

        I wonder sometimes if it could be necessary to offer the consumer a blended search capability, where searches are parsed from multiple sources and blended in an agnostic fashion without concern for any provider's business interest.

        They used to have

  • I thought the whole point of a search engine was to use its own results first.
  • It was an engineer who invented their motto. It was not the CEO nor founders!
  • by jedi.fanxch ( 819530 ) on Monday June 29, 2015 @11:29AM (#50012339)
    Nobody noticed the so-called study was sponsored by Yelp, who is suing Google in Europe? So many news web sites reported Google screwing your search result, but so little mentioned who sponsored this.
    • by faway ( 4112407 )
      Given that Yelp is known to be PROTECTION RACKET, maybe Google can pay them to censor the study, like Starbucks pays them to censor bad reviews.
    • by mjwx ( 966435 )

      Nobody noticed the so-called study was sponsored by Yelp, who is suing Google in Europe? So many news web sites reported Google screwing your search result, but so little mentioned who sponsored this.

      The article I read pointed it out, they pointed out the study was funded by Yelp
      http://www.newsweek.com/google-search-hurting-yelp-finds-study-funded-yelp-348299 [newsweek.com]

      The article also points out that Yelp are launching a browser extension to "fix" search results. So it seems Yelp is trying to do exactly what its accusing Google of doing. This "study" is an exercise in astroturfing for a browser plugin that at best manipulates search results (I think that assuming it will also collect data on the user is not

  • I'm sure glad we have law professors to save us from ourselves!

  • Yes, it is the most ubiquitous and 'easy default' for those that don't trust M$ either. Users are free to choose their own search engine. On M$ machines BING is put up front unless overt action is taken to force google or some other engine to be the default. Most desktops are still owned by M$/Winders. I have no clue what Apple does... They probably don't care if they can't make a buck off it or it doesn't sway public opinion toward them. Android uses either Google and Chrome or Opera as the browser (c
  • Google frequently figures out a best-guess answer to display first, favoring its own results to do so.

    What else would it display first, other than the its own results?

  • Though the study was co-authored by Michael Luca of Harvard Business School and Tim Wu of Columbia Law School, it was financed by online reviews company Yelp

    Yelp is mad.

    We're done here.

  • "Columbia Law School professor Tim Wu .. has published a new study suggesting that Google's new method of putting answers to simple search queries at the top of the results page is anticompetitive and harmful to consumers."

    Have you considered using another search engine, perhaps one of ixquick.com [ixquick.com] or yandex.com [yandex.com]. Oh wait, they don't come as default on Windows and Windows sets it back to Bing on every update.
  • Obligatory "I'm shocked!" post.

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