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Google doesn't Cook

google, congressional, hearing, Washington

   
1:44 pm on Sep 22, 2011 (gmt 0)

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Google's executive chairman has denied that the company fixes its search results to promote its own websites and services


[bbc.co.uk ]
3:03 pm on Sep 22, 2011 (gmt 0)

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Isn't "May I simply say that I can assure you we're not cooking anything." code for "we're cooking everything."?
3:09 pm on Sep 22, 2011 (gmt 0)

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"Sometimes the best, most useful answer to a query is one of the traditional 10 blue links,'" Google states. "But sometimes it's a news article, sports score, stock quote, flight times, video, shopping results, or a map--any of which we may place above or among the other results from across the Web. Every search engine has shifted toward providing more answers directly in the search results--because it's what consumers want."

What this means is that Google search results are not purely the product of the Google search algorithm. Rather the search results generated by Google's ostensibly neutral search algorithm get augmented with other links when Google's other algorithms determine an answer can be provided by, say, presenting a Google Maps link. This aggregation of search systems is called universal search.
3:10 pm on Sep 22, 2011 (gmt 0)

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For example, Senator Mike Lee of Utah questioned why Google product search ranked third so consistently when product comparison sites did not fare so well on average. Schmidt had to explain that Lee was making an apples-to-oranges comparison.

"In general, what's happening here is product comparison sites being compared against products," Schmidt explained.

Lee appeared unconvinced and insisted Google appeared to be cooking its search results.

"I can assure you that we've not cooked anything," Schmidt replied, evidently unperturbed by the government grilling.
3:13 pm on Sep 22, 2011 (gmt 0)

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The Gorg may be said only to "cook" things only inasmuch as it knows its own search/page-rank algorithms so well.
4:23 pm on Sep 22, 2011 (gmt 0)

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They're cooking everything. There's no doubt in my mind.
4:33 pm on Sep 22, 2011 (gmt 0)

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If they don't cook things, why the "special sauce"?
4:41 pm on Sep 22, 2011 (gmt 0)

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Its all just empty words - at some point they are going to have to prove they are not tampering with the results. This could get interesting!
4:50 pm on Sep 22, 2011 (gmt 0)

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They are most certainly fixing bid prices on Adwords at the very least. The 'Quality Score' algorithm allowed them to go away from an auction based system to one where they can simply increase bid prices on a whim and claim it's quality score related. You as an advertiser have no way to know what's going on.

I'm no fan of government but someone needs to take Google down a peg or two. The arrogance they display is quite infuriating.
5:04 pm on Sep 22, 2011 (gmt 0)

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They are most certainly fixing bid prices on Adwords at the very least. The 'Quality Score' algorithm allowed them to go away from an auction based system to one where they can simply increase bid prices on a whim and claim it's quality score related. You as an advertiser have no way to know what's going on.


Exactly, compared to any shenanigans that could be going on with organic results (which I don't believe they engage in) the PPC world is where their just sweeping in billions through the Quality Score "process". Could you ever imagine TV networks charging advertisers via some mysterious formula?
5:05 pm on Sep 22, 2011 (gmt 0)

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They are most certainly fixing bid prices on Adwords at the very least. The 'Quality Score' algorithm allowed them to go away from an auction based system to one where they can simply increase bid prices on a whim and claim it's quality score related. You as an advertiser have no way to know what's going on.


which sends you on the quality score improving witch hunt, that leads to nowhere. Don't even think about asking customer service.... i think that even leads to lower quality score! Stop it advertiser, the more you try the worse we are going to make it for you.

until you just give up and go away...which is want the system is designed to do.
5:17 pm on Sep 22, 2011 (gmt 0)

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I'm just curious, folks. What do you wise professionals say (or how do you suggest I respond) to the argument on the order of "Google is a business *not operating pro bono* and thus they 'have a right' to promote their own products, cook the search, and do as they please with the search 'product'."?

In fact, the argument was made that "Google's social responsibility is to make money within the confines of the law. If Google's actions are illegal, they will be held to account. Last time I checked (which was ~20 mins ago), such illegal actions included price discrimination and buying up all the competition; neither being "fair" in the selection of search listings nor being sufficiently big nor having lazy, fearful or stupid consumers were listed alongside." (Get it? Their *social responsibility* is to make money. Right?)
5:24 pm on Sep 22, 2011 (gmt 0)

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I'm just curious, folks. What do you wise professionals say (or how do you suggest I respond) to the argument on the order of "Google is a business *not operating pro bono* and thus they 'have a right' to promote their own products, cook the search, and do as they please with the search 'product'."?

They can do all that - until they become dominant. Once they become dominent, additional onus is placed on them not to stifle competition and do things that are counter to consumer's best interest, things they can do by virtue of their dominance and monopoly.

We can argue whether that's right or wrong, but the my limited understanding is that there seems to be laws around this stuff in many countries. You can do as you please until you own everything. Then you can't do anything you please.
5:57 pm on Sep 22, 2011 (gmt 0)



I'm just curious, folks. What do you wise professionals say (or how do you suggest I respond) to the argument on the order of "Google is a business *not operating pro bono* and thus they 'have a right' to promote their own products, cook the search, and do as they please with the search 'product'."?

Fine, on every non-IE browser that operates on Windows, MS displays an annoying ad. What say you? Or if MS Pandalizes Google Chrome or gives them a Low landing Quality Score? MS is not pro-bono, is it?


They are most certainly fixing bid prices on Adwords at the very least. The 'Quality Score' algorithm allowed them to go away from an auction based system to one where they can simply increase bid prices on a whim and claim it's quality score related. You as an advertiser have no way to know what's going on.

I'm no fan of government but someone needs to take Google down a peg or two. The arrogance they display is quite infuriating.

If they did this (let's take a wild guess), you can pretty much see Google a few dozen pegs down, not a peg or two. Imagine the fines, and lawsuits from people demanding their money back.

And if they chose the algorithm based on Adwords income (so-so, but not too bad Serps = more clicks,) frankly they all should be hung from lampposts. It's not funny to ruin people's livelihoods.

neither being "fair" in the selection of search listings

Bad press and lost trust aside, FTC might disagree if Google places sites based on financial incentives and does not disclose it. Those links cost consumers money, money that Google got. Who pays for Google's advertising? We do, prices are passed to the consumers.
7:11 pm on Sep 22, 2011 (gmt 0)



I get the feeling that if they get slapped down - they will retaliate with even more venom.
8:11 pm on Sep 22, 2011 (gmt 0)

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*cough* BULL#$@$ *cough*
10:16 pm on Sep 22, 2011 (gmt 0)



LOL - how dare you critisize the G gods Physics.

And how right you are to do so.
10:52 pm on Sep 22, 2011 (gmt 0)

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@albo, as I understand it (someone who's read a lot about monopoly stuff, but isn't a lawyer or expert of any sort), wheel has it in a nutshell. Once you become very dominant, you may have the ability to buy or destroy most of your competition (as Google does). But that would make for a very uncompetitive market place, so you're not allowed to do that.

Google has done something a bit sneakier. They've leveraged their competitors' need to be included (and ranked) in their results to force their competitors to do things to boost Google's profits. That's definitely an abuse of power.

And let's remember why they have that power: because MSN was heading toward that dominance, bundling MSN search into IE, and Google helped break down their search dominance by giving evidence in the DoJ case against MSN. That makes it even more the govt's responsibility to do something to level the playing field - not just between G and other SE's, but between Google Places and Yelp and other Google services and their competitors. (Is there a field Google hasn't entered yet?)
10:54 pm on Sep 22, 2011 (gmt 0)

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One thing to note.

The vociferous defense of Google (which it once enjoyed) is directly proportionally to the ever declining fortunes of Adsense publishers.

Now, it is finally sinking in to many webmasters.
10:54 pm on Sep 22, 2011 (gmt 0)

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Here's some official Google spin on the Senate Hearing witness claims:
[googlecompetition.blogspot.com ]
And, if you haven't seen the "Google Competition" blog previously, it might be worth a look; the contents seem to be a good read, and might provide a broader view of some of the issues.
11:20 pm on Sep 22, 2011 (gmt 0)



"Now, it is finally sinking in to many webmasters"

I am afraid to say frontpage - that I do not agree with you there!

I suppose non-relatively speaking your use of the word "many" there is accurate - probably thousands of webmasters - which is "many".

In reality I would guess that this is only about .0000001% of site owners though who actually realise what is going on.

I base my guess on the fact that if say 20% of the web community knew the detail of googles practices, then google would be off the net by now.
1:10 am on Sep 23, 2011 (gmt 0)

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Google is not Microsoft. Google has much more power over what information gets into our heads. These days "the media" isn't just the news or television. Where do people go when they want quick, "unbiased" information?

Whats interesting is the difference in search results between Google and Bing for the search: google senate hearing. There seems to be a recurring theme in Google's results that the whole senate hearing is either a big joke, or that the government is going to hurt consumers by forcing Google to "stop doing this really great service, and have a lesser product". Schmidt was reported to have "swatted aside most of the verbal attacks like annoying flies at a backyard barbecue", and Al Franken (D-Minn.) was "funnier at the hearing than he ever was on the 'Saturday Night Live' comedy show" and he was trying to "get Google to serve free broadband to their states". According to one of Google's results, 10 quotes worth mentioning from the senate hearing included "I love Google", and "Google might be doping the horses". Another of the top results included a searchengineland article, where Schmidt "came off better than most of the senators questioning him" in the "Post-Game Show" and reported on the "Unintended Comedy from Senators".

I'm sure this slant is purely algorithmic, because Google has to "represent the web how it is and not how we wish it to be".
1:38 am on Sep 23, 2011 (gmt 0)



@Finger
someone just noted on another blog that there is almost no criticism of Google in Google+ and very few mentions of this anti-trust thing. They are fanboys but they also sign wit their names and G is watching :)


The vociferous defense of Google (which it once enjoyed) is directly proportionally to the ever declining fortunes of Adsense publishers.

Now, it is finally sinking in to many webmasters.
Don't worry it will sink in, this was a game changer for many people and even kool-aid drinkers.

Google is ripping off big sites too and they will feel it as well. They at least have clout.

Another of the top results included a searchengineland article, where Schmidt "came off better than most of the senators questioning him" in the "Post-Game Show" and reported on the "Unintended Comedy from Senators".

Another of the top results included a GoogleLand article, where Schmidt "came off better than most of the senators questioning him" in the "Post-Game Show" and reported on the "Unintended Comedy from Senators".
12:25 pm on Sep 24, 2011 (gmt 0)

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Showed my adsense stats to my lawyer and my accountant, both concluded within minutes something is not right.

You cant have hundreds of thousands of clicks a month and each click range between .5 cents to 50.00 and make the exact same final earnings to within pennies or single digit dollars every month.

I shudder to think of what they must be doing to the advertiser.
4:05 pm on Sep 24, 2011 (gmt 0)

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Drall, wow. I hope the govt sees some numbers like that, because that's just over the top obvious throttling of some sort.
 

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