back to article Google contradicts own counsel in face of antitrust probe

Google has admitted that it uses whitelists to manually override its search algorithms, more than a year after its European corporate counsel denied the existence of whitelists when defending the company against antitrust complaints in the EU. According to Search Engine Land, Matt Cutts – the head of Google's webspam team – …


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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Maybe google should start using their own services more?

    Meanwhile "don't do evil" has been re-phrased as "reduce the unapplication of good".

    1. Allicorn


      "Deny doing evil"

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Naive people...

    ....To think that a multi-billion dollar corporation does no evil. People bashed MS for so much less in the past. Apple, MS and Google are all doing what they always did: lie, cheat, deceit, fool and offer you what THEY believe is good for you, not necessarily what you need.

    You buy the products, the services and the lies if you want.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      That's right everyone lies to you, except I notice, FOSS companies. They could never lie.

  3. Anonymous Coward

    So they Lied to the EU

    Contempt of Court - throw the book at them and fine them 10% of their gross worldwide revenue.

    1. Kevin Johnston

      Fine them?

      That would go quite some way to clearing the Euro deficit problems

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      That's not contempt of court, it would be perjury, of course it would need to be tried in order to find out the details - it is possible that the lawyers in Europe weren't in possession of all the facts and are now doing their nuts about being made to look like perjurers.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Another plan

        Another idea could be for Bing and Yahoo Sweden to claim 1) Google had tampered with its condom and let some links through and 2) Google had fucked both of them over while Microsoft was asleep.

        Both true and fully supported facts.

      2. paulc


        requires actual knowledge that what you are saying is untrue... that's how microsoft execs were able to escape perjury charges during the DOJ trial... they were deliberately kept in the dark about certain things so they had no knowledge that what they were saying wasn't true

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward


          So, exactly like I said then?

    3. The BigYin

      Not likely

      This is the EU, run by unelected committees who meet in secret, publish no minutes and can't even get their accounts approved. Google will just grease the correct palms and the problem go away.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    What a NSA backed company is telling your lies.. ! your suprised?

    Google has been blocking or at least divirting traffic for sometime now.

    They have been targetting news-farms (like the grudge report (though not the grudge report itself)) that have been critical or exposing the corruption of the US government (and others) at the request of the US government.

    I flicked over to one of the US news (propaganda) channels a while back to see Mrs Clinton say that they were loosing the "info war", and was asking for more money to fight it.

    Funny really, if you just told the truth you wouldnt need lies apon lies and maybe the population may believe what their would-be masters were telling them.

    Then you wouldnt need a war (yet another one, how many are they loosing now?) on information.

    Is there anything they wont have a 'war' with?

    1. Richard 120


      I'm hoping they wont have a war against underwear, or hygeine, or cardboard.

      Or daylight, I quite like daylight.

      And shoes, they're useful.

  5. dave 81

    It's not a public service

    Nobody is forcing the use of google. Its not a public server!

    So what right do the EU have to tell google how to run their business? From an end user point of view if I don't like the results google give me, I will use something else. (not bing though because that really is sh*t) . There is plenty of alternative search engines. And one result I hate is FSM damned link farms like this sh*tty UK company undoubtedly is.

    So for FSM's sake tell the EU to f*ck off.

    1. DavCrav

      Oh for the love of God

      Where do you people crawl out from? Really? Anti-trust, abusing dominant positions, etc.; these are laws. You break them, you pay. That's it. (Well, unless you have connections to people in the right places, and so on, but we'll gloss over that fact.) You personally might not like these laws, but then I don't particularly like the law that says that I can't stab people I think are complete idiots in the eyes, but for your sake just because we don't like the law doesn't mean it isn't there.

      "So what right do the EU have to tell google how to run their business?"

      They are the government, they made a law, Google (allegedly) broke it. That's enough right, I would think.

  6. Anonymous Coward

    Incoming new Google product

    "Google Council" - Check up on what legal council has been saying

  7. Anonymous Coward


    Hasn't Google already admitted that sites such as Wikipedia get artificially boosted to the top of the results?

  8. Digistraction

    All about the money....

    I wonder if the 'whitelist' has anything to do with Adwords spend or generated revenue through Google Checkout. Its obviously a secret but one can't help think both of these will have an impact.

  9. Anonymous Coward

    "fine them 10% of their gross worldwide revenue."

    Corporate fines are pointless. The costs are simply passed on to the customer, as they always are.

    When things go badly wrong, those in charge must be made to pay the price personally. It doesn't matter whether it was their fault or not, if they were in charge then they were responsible, and if things were doing well they'd take the credit, so if things go badly they must carry the can.

    1. DavCrav

      I agree with you partly, but...

      But I'm a customer of Google. I don't mind paying three times as much for my searches.

      1. Stewart Atkins


        Now imagine that you're a customer of Google in that you pay them to provide advertisements for you or your company. Still happy paying 3 times as much?

        1. Stoneshop

          Well, maybe that would level the playing field somewhat

          If placing ads with google gets more expensive, then, ipso facto, advertising on bing, yahoo and the others has just gotten more attractive.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Care to explain?

            Why so? Users don't care about the price of advertising, so the ones on bing/etc will still be a small quantity closer to 0.

            Advertising on TV is way more expensive than on my local's toilet wall, but still doesn't make the toilet one more attractive. Unless Google really prices themselves out of the market there will still be people paying for them, because that's where the eyeballs are.

        2. DavCrav

          Did you see the joke alert?

          "Now imagine that you're a customer of Google in that you pay them to provide advertisements for you or your company. Still happy paying 3 times as much?"

          1) No, I wouldn't be.

          2) It was a joke. I thought the fact there was a sign saying "Joke Alert!" next to it would help, but apparently not. Next time I will wave a large green flag as I tell a joke.

          1. Anonymous Coward

            re: sign saying "Joke Alert!"

            Next time try making it funny too.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        re: But I'm a customer of Google

        No you're not, you just contribute a tiny part of the product that Google sells to its customers.

  10. Robert Grant

    What does "whitelist" mean here anyway?

    The problem might just be linguistic ambiguity. The terms "whitelist" and "blacklist" probably have no useful meaning in the context of search, where all sites that don't break Google's ToS are permitted.

    Google might sometimes manually select which algorithms are used to rank certain sites, but they can do that and still truthfully claim to not "whitelist", if the question is put to them in a naive way.

    1. Richard 120

      They don't?

      It seems pretty obvious to me

      Whitelist - If it's on the whitelist it's bubbled to the top

      Blacklist - If it's on the blacklist it's dragged down to the bottom (or excluded altogether)

      There does seem to be an argument about the lexicology coming from Google, but as the article says, Google have used the terms themselves in the context of search. Any semantic argument is just a fallacy. Simply calling it by another name doesn't make it something else. You can't really choose to ignore a simple term such as blacklist or whitelist.

      If you were to call a horse a dog, it would still be a horse.

  11. Tigra 07
    Thumb Down

    I don't think this is fair.

    I'm not the only person who believes Google should be able to promote their own services on their own search engine am i?

    These rival search engines are complaining Google demotes them but i'll bet Google isn't the first result they have for "Search Engine"

    1. DavCrav

      Just tried this on Bing

      Bing isn't there at all, presumably because you are already on it:

      1) Wikipedia

      2) Altavista

      3) Dogpile

      4) Yahoo

      down to...

      10) Google

      Search for "search" and Google is No 4, again Bing not present.

      Search for "search" on Google and it puts itself No 1. Searching for "search engine" on Google gets itself as no 6, with no 1 being Dogpile and Wikipedia all the way down at 3, for once.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @Tigra 07

    Gotta agree with you there. I've never understood why Google aren't allowed to 'sell' their services by way of the search engine results

    As mentioned above this is a free but private service. You know you're searching Google and shouldn't be surprised if Google stuff comes up at the top

    You're not surprised when you go to Tesco's supermarket and see Tesco's Insurance, Tesco's Mobile phones for sale etc etc (sorry don't know if there's an American comparison)

    I know that Google get slated on here because of some of their privacy issues, but at the end of the day they've made a damn big success of supplying a free service which they don't force you to use

    I know I'm going to get flamed, please be gentle!

  13. Big Bear

    @Tigra 07

    You're right... not the top on Bing, but then again since Bing copies Google, that's just a scrape of Google itself not putting itself at the top of the pile!

    I think the big problem we have here is that Google is a sanctimonious twat that constantly preaches about how it doesn't do evil, etc. etc. and sells itself as being goody and trustworthy, above those dastards at MS and Apple, Facebook, AOL, etc. but in truth, is just as bad. Everyone knows this, but their constant harping on about their inherent lawful good alignment makes them fair game for extra enragement. Similarly, the Church has always preached about being good and holy and whatnot, so when they are shown to be choirboifiddlers, people are slightly more enraged than about normal fiddlers. It's a insinuation of trust that is then broken.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      Linking Google to pedophile priests in the Catholic church in three sentences, I take it you're commenting from your black cab between fairs?

  14. Anonymous Coward

    other search engines are available

    Any intervention that means different results get onto the first search page displayed could be represented as discriminating against somebody. Pushing a particular type of site further down the search because they are unlikely to be what people are looking for is just trying to give people what they want. After all, 'vertical search engine' all too often means 'one more sh*tty price comparison site that wouldn't be missed'.

    Since individual searches aren't carried out manually, 'manually overriding' an algorithm by using a whitelist is just *changing* the algorithm that is used to automatically carry out searches. To get people to look at ads on its pages Google presumably has an interest in finding what they actually want so that they come back another time. That would explain, for example, promoting Wikipedia pages onto the first page that appears because people often *will* be looking for an overview of a subject.

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