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Friday, June 08, 2012
Google Defends Its Search Policies

Google has responded to Wall Street Journal after the newspaper published a scathing guest opinion piece against the Internet giant.

Shopping site Nextag CEO Jeffrey Katz wrote on Thursday evening that Google has ballooned into a monopoly, pegging its closest competition in the search space.

Amit Singhal, senior vice president of engineering at Google, responded on the Google Public Policy Blog on Friday.

"Most people believe that when they type "convection microwave oven" or "biking shorts" into Google, they will receive a list of the most relevant sites. Not true. That's how Google used to work. Now, when someone searches for these items, the most prominent results are displayed because companies paid Google for that privilege," said Katz.

Here is Google's response: "Our unpaid, natural search results are never influenced by payment. Our algorithms rank results based only on what the most relevant answers are for users -- which might be a direct answer or a competitor's website. Our ads and commercial experiences are clearly labeled and distinct from the unpaid results, and we recently announced new improvements to labeling of shopping results. This is in contrast to most comparison shopping sites, which receive payment from merchants but often don?t clearly label search results as being influenced by payment"

Nextag CEO also accused Google of changing its algorithms to punish its competitors.

"We don't make changes to our algorithms to hurt competitors," Google's executive said. "We make more than 500 changes a year (each one scientifically evaluated) in order to deliver the most useful results for our users - and we now publish a monthly list of algorithm improvements."

Responding to claims that Google has used its position to bend the rules to help maintain its online supremacy, including the use of sophisticated algorithms weighted in favor of its own products and services, Singhal said that Google's algorithms are designed to give users the most relevant results.

Google's Singhal continued on to defend Google's search infrastructure and algorithms, saying that it does not prohibit competitors from advertising on Google and finally reminding that anyone who don?t find what they are looking for on Google can always try other search engines instead.

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