Recently it was reported that former CEO of Google Eric Schmidt tried to have his political contributions hidden from Google. The news reminded me that a few years back I wrote about the cozy relationship between Schmidt and President Obama and how it could be protecting a Google monopoly. Interestingly, based upon Schmidt’s contributions – he seems to be fairly middle of the road – supporting candidates on the left and right. So it does seem his close ties with the Obama administration might have served the purpose of protecting his company from future lawsuits. And as luck and timing would have it, this week Google did have to deal with antitrust allegations in the EU brought on by Microsoft regarding intentional roadblocks the world’s leading search provider has erected around YouTube.
But the broader issue here is the fact that the “algorithm only” search results users were led to believe were the only way search results can be organized can be overridden by white lists the company can apply to sites.
This news will likely cause tremendous damage to the search engine as it opens up the possibility that Google is using manual intervention to lower the rankings of competitors. It would be beyond surprising if we don’t start to see more light shined on how Google indexes and provides search results to users. And expect teams of lawyers to be convening regarding how to attack and defend Google regarding the objectivity of its results.