A hard-hitting new study claims that Google’s search results not only favor its own internal websites over competing destinations, but also degrade social welfare and freeze out potential rivals in doing so.
The claim itself isn’t a new one, but the results of this
study are particularly notable since the research was
conducted with the help of Tim Wu, an American academic who
created the phrase “net neutrality” and has pushed for a freer
“By leveraging its dominance in search to promote its
internal content, Google is reducing social welfare — leaving
consumers with lower quality results and worse matches,” the
study, which was conducted with the help of researchers from the
Yelp review website, reads.
Specifically, the researchers showed users two different types of
results for local searches. One was conducted through Google,
which filtered results and typically placed Google content near
the top, and the other used Google’s own algorithm to pick out
the results that scored most relevant.
Ultimately, the team found that users were almost 50 percent more
likely to engage in results that did not give Google services