Twitter Accuses Google of Fixing Search Results
Twitter has accused Google of fixing its search results to boost to its own social networking service, Google+. Twitter says the move produces results that don't accurately reflect the latest news.
The dispute involves search engines (like Google) that once merely scanned and indexed static web pages, but now factor in a variety of sources, including online networking posts.
In the past, Google included Twitter posts in its main search results, including messages that had been re-tweeted (reposted) frequently. Unlike Google's main results list, this "Real-time search" would regularly refresh to show the latest posts.
Google Emphasizes Its Own Social Network
Last July, Google announced it was working on integrating posts from its own then-newly-launched social networking service, Google+.
While Google+ has earned praise, it remains far less popular than its major rivals, including Facebook and Twitter. Part of the reason may be that people are waiting for their friends to join Google+ before they follow suit. Unfortunately, that's something of a vicious cycle.
Google's new tweak to its search results means there will now be a special section at the top of the results page, listing "personal results". These results include posts and photos from Google-controlled sites, such as Google+ and Picasa, but don't include content from competitors, such as Facebook or Twitter. (Source: latimes.com)
Twitter Claims Google Policy Distorts Search Results
Twitter senior lawyer Alex Macgillivary has already attacked Google's new policy, saying it warps search results by favoring posts from Google+ users, even if their posts are less reliable or relevant than others.
Macgillivary claims Twitter posts are often the best source for breaking news, and that it is unfair to searchers to ignore them. (Source: mashable.com)
The new Google policy may attract the attention of federal regulators, who have already been asked by a US Senate committee to investigate whether Google is abusing its position as a dominant force in the search market.
Some purists argue that Google has the right to rank and present search results any way it sees fit, even if that means showing bias towards its own products and services. However, others argue that a company with as large a market share as Google needs to be restricted from acting in a way that unfairly harms its competitors.