January 23rd, 2012 / Search Engine Marketing

Is Google In Violation Of Antitrust?

It’s possible that we might see at least one country within the next couple of weeks start an antitrust investigation into Google over its ranking practices. The primary concern will be Google+.

A group of engineers at Facebook, Twitter, and MySpace have gone public with a bookmarklet that allows users to see what Google’s web results would be without the influence of Google+. The claim is that Google boosts its own social network content above the content of its competition and that this is unfair. The bookmarklet is based on pretty solid data.

It’s hard to argue with it, either. When you see that certain celebrities have hundreds of thousands of Twitter and Facebook users and share content on those services daily but have few, if any, Google+ users where they haven’t shared any updates in months and their Google+ profile appears at the top of the search results while their Twitter and Facebook profiles are buried, well, what do you make of that?

Furthermore, if you were a searcher and you were looking for those celebrities, which social profile would you want to find?

This doesn’t look good for Google. It certainly doesn’t look good for searchers. Even if you are a Google+ user, when you search for information, don’t you want to find the best and most relevant information for your search query rather than the information that the search engine itself prefers that you find?

I predict that even if an antitrust lawsuit isn’t on the way Google will still make changes to its algorithm to bury some of those Google+ profiles that don’t deserve top rankings. If they don’t, they should.

What do you think? Is this good search policy or harmful?

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