Google Seeks extension to Respond to Search Results Rigging Accusations in India


Last week, we reported that Google was under investigation from Competition Commission of India over claims that the search engine rigged search engine results  thus abusing its dominate position. The commission further accused Google of rigging sponsored links. The investigations followed complaints by Bharat Matrimony, a service that facilitates arranged marriages, and Consumer Unity and Trust Society, a local nonprofit organization. The commission then sought to collaborate these complaints by seeking responses from over 30 internet businesses with operations spanning search, social networks, ecommerce, travel and content sites. Some of the companies who collaborated these claims included Flipkart, Facebook, Nokia’s maps division, and several other companies according to Economic Times.

The Commission required Google to file a response before September 10 and appear before the Commission soon after for hearings. The company is however seeking an extension of the set time frame to allow it respond fully to the accusations. Google is said to have initially responded stating that the commission had no business in the matter before as users were not charged for search. The commission argued that consumers are a large part of the Google ecosystem as they determine how the platform is monetized.

Google was also accused of ensuring that its proprietary content supersedes in relevance to search of an individual. If one searches for content in Finance, Google finance links receive priority. If one searchers for travel information, Google Hotels gets preference over other portals that may have more traffic reports ET.  The second count accuses Google of  rigging the sponsored links shown after search, making them dependent of the amount an organization spends on advertising. In some instances, the same supersede the actual trademarks being searched.

According to Economic Times, Google will in its response to the commission seek to demonstrate that it publishes an advisory on how websites can increase their score in search engine besides showing the formats usable for original content on which the engine automatically assigns high scores.

Source: Economic Times