Friday, December 29, 2006

Do Google's 'tips' Make You Lose Trust?

One of the lead developers behind the Firefox browser has accused Google -- through "tips" that pop up with search results -- of abusing its powerful position in the search market to promote its growing range of products. In a blog posting this week, Blake Ross said Google is wrong to include such plugs for its Calendar, Blogger and Picasa services at the top of results for terms like "calendar," "blogging" or "photo sharing."
"This is clearly bad for competitors, and it's also a bad sign for Google," wrote Ross, 21, who has been one of the driving forces behind Firefox. As Ross pointed out, many other Web companies also cross-promote their services. However, he argued that Google -- with its motto of "Don't be evil" -- should hold itself to a higher standard.
The issue has sparked a lively online debate. Some back Ross, agreeing that users could lose confidence in Google if they perceive it as not giving truly impartial information. Others, though, insist that Google is acting within its rights and treats its rivals fairly.

EDITORIAL: I'm with Blake Ross on this one -- Google should hold itself to a higher standard. Self-promotion of this type is dishonest when you're the company providing the search results. It makes you wonder who else is benefiting from crooked search results. Are business partners being placed higher in the Google rankings than is legitimate?