There’s a reason I keep finding reasons to write about Google in the JLB blog, these days. They are one of the biggest forces of influence on the Net.
If you’ve been listening to public radio lately, you might be hearing more and more about Congress’ interest in the search giant. This week, Google’s CEO Eric Schmidt met in front of a Senate hearing in Washington, D.C., to affirm that Google is acting in the best interests of its consumers and competition (read “antitrust”). According to InformationWeek, some regulators “believe that Google has acted in an anticompetitive fashion,” citing European regulators and the U.S. Federal Trade Commission, who are in the middle of separate antitrust inquiries.
Google remains nonplussed in the face of such scrutiny, emphasizing its fairness and own self-awareness. “We get it,” Schmidt is quoted as saying to the Senate.
Google is also receiving a lot of attention for the way that it returns search results — the bread and butter of its business. In January 2010, I wrote a post about Google’s personalized search results, but there are now other factors at play in Google’s SERPS, including universal search.
“What this means is that Google search results are not purely the product of the Google search algorithm,” explains InformationWeek. “Rather the search results generated by Google’s ostensibly neutral search algorithm get augmented with other links when Google’s other algorithms determine an answer can be provided by, say, presenting a Google Maps link. This aggregation of search systems is called universal search.”
Google’s response is that universal search results are meant to help its users find what they are looking for more easily (read: an older press release from Google about universal search). Essentially, Google’s message seems to be, “Trust us.”
And for now, most folks do.