Google Reportedly Manipulates Search Results

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An estimate of over 3.8 million queries are typed into Google every minute, says WSJ. 

Billions of people around the world gather, store, and locate information in Google Search. The search engine is also being used by big businesses, and Google has been accused of manipulating data in favor of big businesses.

The Wall Street Journal reported that Google manipulates Google Search results in favor of big businesses. The report was based on over 100 interviews and the findings just encouraged the critics who have long believed that Google is leaning into political bias to influence its search results. In response, Google has denied such accusations. 

Search algorithms and autocomplete manipulation

The Wall Street Journal investigations have found that Google manipulated controversial subjects and search algorithms. Their service guided users to more prominent businesses and gave less priority to smaller businesses and brands. Amazon seemed to have benefited from the alleged data manipulation, and because of these changes, Amazon’s store search results received a bump.

Google denies accusations

“The changes we make to search are aimed at benefiting users, not commercial relationships,” said Google.

Google insists that Google Search is built on algorithms and data gathered from use. The search algorithms look at many factors in order to give users the most useful results. These factors include words from the user’s query, relevance, the functionality of pages, the clout of sources, and location settings. In order to meet high standards of relevance and quality, they also have rigorous processes including live tests and trained external search quality raters from around the world, making the manipulation of results even more difficult.

Google further added, “Our goal is to provide people with the information they are searching for, and we’re always working to improve our algorithms to help them find the most useful content.” Google refused to share specific details on how its search algorithm operates which it attributes to operations of logistics.

But Google Spokesperson Lara Levin said that they have been very public and transparent around the topic. Levin further added that the article published by WSJ holds old, incomplete anecdotes, and inaccurate impressions on how they approach building and improving the Search. Nevertheless, they take a responsible and principled approach in applying the feedback from users to improve the search engine.

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