More Google content related (bad) news

It seems like not a week passes by without some news emerging suggesting there may be problems with the results provided by the world’s most powerful search engine. Well, actually it was a fortnight since the last time we discussed this, but still more fingers have been pointing.
On March 22nd, from our Manchester PR base, we blogged on how MPs had voiced concerns over Google’s seemingly lackadaisical attitude towards removing offensive content from search results. This followed a similar-ish post in January about how representatives of entertainment firms (record labels, film distributors and the like) had made recommendations to the UK Government concerning the prevalence of illegal filesharing sites in Google and Bing results.
All of which make for pretty big news from where we’re sitting. Yesterday things took a turn for the even more suspicious though, as travel website TripAdvisor filed a complaint with the European Commission over anti-competitiveness within Google’s practices. The accusation stems from a perceived distortion in organic search results, meaning Google Places allegedly ranks higher than other companies, leading some to believe the search engine is giving preferential treatment to its own products.
A decision now has to be made on whether or not to fully pursue the claims, so we’ll have to see what happens, and in the meantime we’re certainly making no judgements. But the most worrying aspect of all this is that similar complaints have been made by Microsoft and a number of other rivals, who have each submitted evidence against Google to the European Commission, meanwhile lastminute.com supports TripAdvisor’s claims, and Expedia has accused the search giant of breaching European law, apparently. Suffice to say then, this all makes rather uncomfortable reading for anyone with concerns over online transparency, not to mention those with a businesses reliant on search rankings.