Google has responded to the EU’s antitrust investigation. In short, Google says it focuses on users, not websites. So whatever is best for the user is what it does.
If that means some sites are lower ranked, then some sites are lower ranked. That’s just how it goes.
Here’s Google’s full blog post on the EU investigation, written by top search execs Udi Manber and Susan Wojcicki:
At Google, we’ve always focused on putting the user first by providing the best possible answers as quickly as possible – and our product innovation and engineering talent have delivered results that users seem to like, in a world where the competition is only one click away. However, given our success and the disruptive nature of our business, it’s entirely understandable that we’ve caused unease among other companies and caught the attention of regulators. Today, the European Commission has announced that they will continue to review complaints about Google’s search and search advertising. We respect their process and will continue to work closely with the Commission to answer their questions.
So that everyone understands how we approach search and ads ranking, we thought it would be helpful to state clearly the principles that guide our business:
- Answering users’ queries accurately and quickly is our number one goal. Sometimes the best, most relevant answer to a query is our traditional “10 blue links”, and sometimes it is a news article, sports score, stock quote, video, or a map. Today, when you type in “weather in London” or “15 grams in ounces” you get the answers directly (often before you even hit Enter). In the future, we will need to answer much more complex questions just as fast and as clearly. We believe ads are information too, which is why we work so hard to ensure that the advertisements you see are directly relevant to what you are looking for;
- We built Google for users, not websites. It may seem obvious, but people sometimes forget this — not every website can come out on top, or even appear on the first page of our results, so there will almost always be website owners who are unhappy about their rankings. The most important thing is that we satisfy our users.
- We are always clear when we have been paid for promoting a product or service. Before we launched Google, many search engines took money for inclusion in their results without making that clear to users. We have never done that and we always distinguished advertising content from our organic search results. As we experiment with new ad formats and types of content, we promise to continue to be transparent about payments.
- We aim to be as transparent as possible. We provide more information about how our ranking works than any other major search engine, through our webmaster central site, blog, diagnostic tools, support forum, and YouTube channel. We give our advertisers information about the ad auction, tips on how to improve their ad quality scores, and the ability to simulate their bids to give them more transparency. And we’re committed to increasing that transparency going forward. At the same time, we don’t want to help people game our system. We do everything we can to ensure that the integrity of our results isn’t compromised.
Our final principle: the only constant is change. We’ve been working on this stuff for well over a decade, and in that time our search technology has improved by leaps and bounds. Our results are continuing to evolve from a list of websites to something far more dynamic. Today there’s real-time content, automatically translated content, local content (especially important for mobile devices), images, videos, books, and a whole lot more. Users can search by voice — and in a variety of languages. And we’ve developed new ad formats such as product listing ads and new pricing models such as cost-per-action. We cannot predict where search and online advertising will be headed, but we know for sure that they won’t stay the same. By staying focused on innovation we can continue to make search even better — for the benefit of users everywhere.
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