I read this blog post “Does Google Favor its Own Services?” on AlleyInsider and was annoyed by the misleading statistics and interpretation that are written. Here are the reasons this article frustrates me:
- Google should be excused for providing their own service in their own top search results if another search engine also provides it as a top result (Bing also returns http://maps.google.com as a top result for example). That would seem to validate that Google Maps is actually a top result, not (just) Google promoting its own service. By my count this invalidates 3 of the 7 dings against Google.
- This article should mention (if not account for) that users searching on Google are probably inclined to be more likely to be searching for Google services. It makes sense that a user trying to find the login page for Google email will go to Google search to try to find it. It then makes sense that Google (or its search algorithm) would account for a frequent user behavior (searching for “mail” and then clicking through to mail.google.com) by prioritizing prioritizing the result for mail.google.com in the future (in general, or on a per user basis).
The article should be pointing out that Yahoo seems to be the most out of whack with the other two sites (look at the results for “calendar”), but Yahoo isn’t going to get as many page views as bashing Google in the headline of the post. I hate that AlleyInsider does this all the time, but it got me to read and write about the story so I guess sensationalist blogging wins out again.
My understanding was that Bing “provides” search for Yahoo now anyways, so I’m curious as to what’s going on that Yahoo would still offer different results. Perhaps this is in the line of thinking of trying to accommodate Yahoo users searching for Yahoo services.
Perhaps we should be skeptical of the results Google (or any other search engine) returns, but also keep in mind that algorithms can be written to help create the best experience for Google users (looking for Google services) rather than a vanilla internet user. Now if Google in some way subverts my obvious preference for something else that is more dubious, but perhaps in that case we users should cast our votes for disapproval by not using their service.
Do you “trust Google’s results?” Am I crazy? Am I wrong? I imagine I’m not any more wrong than AlleyInsider in this case.