Google has been greatly targeted by many authorities around the world by several rather serious accusations, all related to its search engine. Most of these types of claims, accuse Google of giving search results that are unfair for other companies. Just recently, two academics made public their latest study in which with information provided by the popular company, Yelp Inc, the internet giant was once again criticized for tweaking its own search engine algorithm to favor the company’s own products and services. This is not the first time Google’s alleged unfair competition has been brought to light, but something unusual about this study is that the company did respond to the accusations this time around. Instead of just quietly letting the claims go by, Google published a rebuttal to the defaming study, in which it was stated how the data provided by Yelp was “cherry-picked”.
The published study was made by Tim Wu (professor at Columbia Law School) and Michael Luca (professor at Harvard Business School), and was then sent to the Antitrust Enforcement Symposium in Oxford, United Kingdom. The reason behind sending this paper to the UK’s authorities, is to make them take action against Google; if the Antitrust Enforcement Symposium does decide to pursue this case, it would add up to the one already in progress by the European Commission. Another governmental entity working to penalize Google would really affect its business in the region, which is most likely why Google did not stand quietly by as the paper was passed to the Antitrust Enforcement Symposium. Wu and Luca, discovered how even with local queries, “Google appears to be strategically employing universal search in a way that degrades the product so as to slow and exclude challengers to its dominant search paradigm”, this means that Google is allegedly isolating its competitors to increase the overall traffic inside their own services.
Google denied the statements wrote by Wu and Luca, by sending an email to various media sources, mentioning how Yelp has already tried to make these type of arguments to regulators. The company which provided the study’s data has demanded a higher positioning in search results for the past five years. Google also noted how the methodology used by Yelp is highly flawed, as it only focuses on a handful of cherry-picked queries. The main goal behind Google search still is to deliver the most relevant and best results for their users, without them being biased towards the company’s own services.