Tuesday, 3 July 2012

Internet search engines biased? Duh?

The news that Google is in discussion with European Commission (EC) to settle the alleged antitrust case around the biasing of search results to promote its own products, was inevitable, given that a similar allegations are being investigated by the FTC in the US.
What is surprising however, is that users of the dominant internet search engine in Europe apparently cannot recognise the bias.
Google is a business, it is not a charitable endeavor like Wikipedia. As a company it would be niaeve, in fact iresponsible to to its sharehol;ders not to promote its own, and other sponsored products.
When I go to my local Tesco supermarket, at the end of the isle will be the branded goods being promoted (and which Tesco is paid to place there). Then down the isles there will be a mix of branded and Tesco own label goods, with the own label goods often having a promotional price on the shelf edge.
Despite the ideal of a totally free internet, it has to be paid for somehow. Even Jimmy Wales has to post a donation request message once a year.
In due course Google will stump up lumps of cash for both the EU and US treasury coffers, and will make some changes to the algorithms. Let's just hope that the organisation currently funding the lobbying of the EC, Microsoft has the algorithms in Bing ready for inspection.

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