'Google promotes its own products on its search engine'

Daily Mail - Science & tech

Google is using the space above its search results to promote products owned by its parent company, Alphabet, Inc., it was reported on Thursday. The Internet search giant was found to utilize the precious space in order to push various products like its own Pixel phones as well as Nest smart thermostats and smokes detectors, and Android smart watches, The Wall Street Journal reported. Nest Labs is a Palo Alto, California-based company that manufactures thermostats, smoke detectors, and other home security products. It was acquired by Alphabet, Inc. in 2014 for $3.2billion. Google is using the space above its search results to promote products owned by its parent company, Alphabet.


How Google's search algorithm spreads false information with a rightwing bias

The Guardian

Google's search algorithm appears to be systematically promoting information that is either false or slanted with an extreme rightwing bias on subjects as varied as climate change and homosexuality. Following a recent investigation by the Observer, which uncovered that Google's search engine prominently suggests neo-Nazi websites and antisemitic writing, the Guardian has uncovered a dozen additional examples of biased search results. Google's search algorithm and its autocomplete function prioritize websites that, for example, declare that climate change is a hoax, being gay is a sin, and the Sandy Hook mass shooting never happened. The increased scrutiny on the algorithms of Google – which removed antisemitic and sexist autocomplete phrases after the recent Observer investigation – comes at a time of tense debate surrounding the role of fake news in building support for conservative political leaders, particularly US President-elect Donald Trump. Facebook has faced significant backlash for its role in enabling widespread dissemination of misinformation, and data scientists and communication experts have argued that rightwing groups have found creative ways to manipulate social media trends and search algorithms.


U.S. Justice Department preparing antitrust probe of Google

The Japan Times

WASHINGTON - The U.S. Justice Department is readying an investigation of Google's business practices and whether they violate antitrust law. The search giant was fined a record $2.72 billion by European regulators in 2017 for abusing its dominance of the online search market. In the U.S., the Federal Trade Commission made an antitrust investigation of Google but closed it in 2013 without taking action. Now the Justice Department has undertaken an antitrust probe of the company's search and other businesses, according to The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times and Bloomberg News, which cited unnamed people familiar with the matter. Justice Department spokesman Jeremy Edwards declined to comment Saturday.


Amazon is said to have tweaked search algorithm to favor its own products

Daily Mail - Science & tech

It seems Amazon may be putting profits before customers. The Wall Street Journal has reported that the retail giant tweaked its product-search algorithms in order to favor its own'private label' and higher profit margin products– instead of what is most relevant for consumers. Programmers involved with the search algorithm are said to have opposed the change, as Amazon's principles stress they'work to earn and keep customer trust'. The changes were cited by sources familiar with the situation, who claimed Amazon's product-search system was changed last year. The Wall Street Journal has reported that the retail giant tweaked its product-search algorithms in order to favor its own'private label' and higher profit margin products– instead of what is most relevant for consumers Prior to the switch, algorithms would first show products that were bestsellers or relevant to what customers were looking to purchase.