Turns out Google isn't above using their own discretion with regards to search results. The Mountain View giant has admitted that their algorithms are driven by their "opinion" on what is more relevant, rather than what is democratically decided.
The Register reported earlier this month that Google admitted to the New York Times that it had modified its algorithm to stop rewarding websites that were using immoral practices to boost business. Vitaly Borker, purveyor of fake glasses from DecorMyEyes, received multiple complaints about his business. He used an abrasive attitude to gain more customers as his negative feedback was gaining him more links, and thus, a higher search ranking. Google caught wind of this scheme and secretively adjusted their backend so that merchants that provide "poor user experience" were automatically deranked. Google even followed with a blog post.
Googler Matt Cutts has outright admitted that Google's PageRank is not an objective service, he points out that PageRank is based on Google's view, rather than an objective reading. "Other data" seems to include Google's opinion on morality, business practices and more.
Although the world believes that Google's results are the end-all and be-all of impartiality, this is not the case and Google even admits as such. The problem however, is that not every Googler has got the memo.
Cutts says that Google changed its documentation in direct response to the Kinderstart ruling. "Even though Google won the case, we tried to clarify where possible that although we employ algorithms in our rankings, ultimately we consider our search results to be our opinion," he said. "That single point, which courts have agreed with, proves that there's no universally agreed-upon way to rank search results in response to a query. Therefore, web rankings (even if generated by an algorithm) are are an expression of that search engine's particular philosophy."
The Register continues to describe the court battles and constitutionality of Google's claim. The courts have ruled that it is within Google's right to prepare their product as they see fit.
This all closely relates to the uproar of Google promoting their own services over those of their competitors. With the above ruling, it seems as if Google may be free to run their business however they want.
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