Eric Schmidt has been questioned by US Senate Judiciary Committee today, about its search algorithm indicating that it intends to redirect its search traffic to Google’s related websites (Google Shopping, maps, reviews, offers etc). None of us outside Google can comment on whether the search algorithm is biased and provides priority to its own websites when compared to other websites. As per Eric, Google is not biasing its search results. As a user, I appreciate the fact that Google is able to integrate their products and provide a better user-experience. I have not experienced a situation where Google is not trying to be fair with its search results for business transactions. The most sought after “Review” platform now-a-days is Yelp and a recent survey has indicated that Google search brings in 75% of Yelp’s traffic.
Having said that I do not find a reason as to why Google should not bias the search results. Google has around 65-70% of the market share in desktop search and approx 90% in the mobile search. Biasing the search results would certainly enable them to boost the growth in various other Google portfolios. Although biasing the search would help Google, it is up to the end user to continue using Google products depending on the user-experience. People who use Google search for business transactions and personal experience always have the option to choose among the best.
In my opinion, as long as Google provides appropriate credit to the Web owners in its search results and does not play around with public data anymore (as the data captured for the street views) , they are doing a fair job.
If you have time and want to know more on what went during the Senate’s meeting, here it is.