A couple of weeks ago, Microsoft pointed to research data indicating that the manipulation of search results to prioritise certain pages has a major negative effect on those sites that are displaced to a lower position in the list of results. The study found, for example, that a site that was moved from first in the search results to tenth lost an average of 85% of traffic compared with its original position.
This effect has not gone unnoticed by Streetmap, a UK-based online mapping specialist, who says that Google’s actions in this regard have made its products “harder to find”. As a result, Streetmap has filed a complaint in court, as it hopes to hold the tech giant accountable for its alleged actions.
As Bloomberg reports, Streetmap’s commercial director, Kate Sutton, said in a statement that the company has “had to take this action in an effort to protect our business and attract attention to those that, like us, have started their own technology businesses, only to find them damaged by Google’s cynical manipulation of search results.”
This is the second time that Google has been sued over similar allegations in less than a year; in June, the company was sued by Foundem, a UK shopping comparison site, which made claims of “anti-competitive conduct” related to the Google Shopping service.
Google is also facing claims of anti-competitive behaviour in the European Union from a coalition of companies including Microsoft and Nokia, over the inclusion and prioritisation of Google products and services in Android devices, which make up 70% of the smartphone market.