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Is Google abusing its position?

November 30, 2010 8 comments

Google is the subject of talk again on Rebecca’s World and in the media. You may have read a previous Google article ‘Morality on the internet’ or ‘Fashionable Google’; however this post is questioning Google’s search engine appearance, as an investigation by EU is being launched into Google’s honesty.

Google is being investigated after sites such as Foundem (price comparison) and ejustice.fr (search engine) and Microsoft’s Ciao issued complaints. These sites claim that Google have penalised their websites and favour its own services.

Foundem and ejustice.fr have complained that Google have treated their sites differently as they are in the same competitive market. With the BBC’s figures in 2010 stating Google,

“has about a 65% share of the US market and about 90% in Europe”

It is clear why these sites have filed complaints, Google’s impact is overwhelming and they may feel this is due to Google’s ‘own specific structure’. Though the enormity of Google is bound to upset a few people, or should I say companies along the way.

The issues raised highlight and emphasise to us, (users of the web), just how prominent Google is in our everyday lives. I have seen Google as many people’s homepage and a commonly used search engine for absolutely anything from recipes to spellings to Google Scholar. The best example of Google being put to good use was when a friend of mine searched for Google. On Google. It almost brought a tear to my eye and made me realise the rise and expansion of Google has effectively made us (oblivious) and more dependent on the search engine. How many of us have Google as our home page? Let’s be honest. *Raises hand*.

From reading articles discussing the allegations towards Google you can understand the viewpoints of those websites filing complaints. They want answers, clarity, a resolution and a fairer search engine platform on the web. However, Google have responded by explaining how results (of those websites filing) are ranked. The reasons for these websites having little coverage, is not down to Google’s manipulation, but these sites are ranked poorly due to compelling reasons such as Foundem duplicating a large majority of its website content from other sites. The originality of a website is the first protocol to ensure trust between a company and a user. Copying does not sit well with most people.

I will continue to ‘search’ and report on the Google investigation in the upcoming weeks. Keep following the stories on Google by subscribing to this blog.

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