focus on the user

Google has long been the subject of antitrust complains and investigations in Europe, but now, some of the company’s competitors are starting to take note of its actions and step forward with their own issues. Yelp, TripAdvisor, and several other companies on Monday teamed up to launch a new website, Focus on the User, on which they express concerns regarding Google’s tendency to promote its own services at the expensive of its rivals. Which in turn, the companies argue, make it harder for customers to find Google’s competitors in results.

In addition to Yelp and TripAdvisor, Consumer Watchdog, Fight for the Future, Jameda, and HolidayCheck are all involved in the effort. The companies all claim that Google goes against its own custom and fair algorithm in an effort to more prominently display content powered by Google+. The results via Google’s algorithm are still displayed, just below the Google+ results. The companies are arguing that Google should face punishments for these unnatural results, as well as be forced to change the algorithm again.

The European Commission is weighing its options to ensure that consumers searching using Google can access all websites, not just content powered by Google+. We think the best way to do that is using Google’s own organic search algorithm to identify the most relevant results — regardless of their source — from across the web.

As far as Google’s relationship with the European Union goes, the company is currently waiting for Danish politician Margethe Vestager to take over as the top competition commissioner before the case proceeds. The company will then make another settlement proposal. Today’s blasting from Yelp and others comes just a week after similar complaints from News Corp  (via Re/code).

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