VIDEO: © European Union, 2017 / Source: EC – Audiovisual Service
The EU has fined Google for a sum of €2.42 billion for breaching antitrust rules. Google was found to have prioritised their shopping comparison services in their search results, and demoting their competitors. In other words, Google has abused their market dominance – 90% of search traffic in Europe – by consistently presenting biased results that benefited Google.
It may not end there – the EU Commissioner for Competition, Margrethe Vestager is also looking at Google’s Android operating system, Adsense and specialised search services like image search, to see if they are abusing their dominant position and penalising their competition in these areas.
It has brought to light just how much bias there can be in search results.
If you want unbiased results when you search, try an alternative to Google,– findx, it’s private, it doesn’t track your searches, and the results you see are what everyone sees.
Every year, Google makes almost 80 billion US dollars worldwide from adverts, such as those it shows consumers in response to search queries. So the more consumers see and click on those adverts, the more revenue Google generates.
As the EU found out, Google profited massively from pushing their shopping comparison service to the top of the results list. And because they dominate search, they have caused massive financial damage to their competition in this area. Google has abused its market dominance as a search engine by promoting its own comparison shopping service in its search results, and demoting those of competitors, and that is illegal in Europe.
© European Union , undefined / Source: EC – Audiovisual Service / Photo: Georges Boulougouris
“…most importantly, it has denied European consumers the benefits of competition, genuine choice of services and innovation.”
Think about the recent elections and referendums. We will never know for sure whether the ranking algorithms or auto-complete was biased and influenced people’s decisions – but they could have. The potential outcomes from biased search algorithms is that search results can sway elections and referendums, perhaps even court cases and investigations, and they could be used to destroy a person’s reputation.
Plus, biased personalised results mean that you stay within your own filter bubble, and risk not to experience other points of view.
Findx is an alternative search engine, it is independent and based in Europe. Plus findx protects your online privacy: It doesn’t track your searches, and doesn’t introduce bias in the search results ranking. With findx, the results someone sees when searching in the UK is what someone sees when searching in Germany unless they, themselves choose different settings.