Watch the Ad Asking Google Employees to Make Search Results More Fair
A group allied with some of Google’s fiercest corporate critics is targeting Google’s employees with ads asking them to be fair when working behind the scenes on the company’s search engine.
The ad, called Focus on the User, was produced by an organization of the same name that’s led by reviews sites Yelp and TripAdvisor. The group has bought ads on social media that specifically target Google employees in the hope that they ensure fairness in search results, according to tech news site Recode, based on comments from Focus on the User.
Yelp and TripAdvisor have argued that Google artificially promotes its own services on its search results page to the detriment of others. Google has denied those claims and said that its search rankings have always been fair and will remain so.
The four-minute video claims that Google’s search results for certain queries promote Google’s services and push down alternatives. It asked Google employees to “share this message and discuss it with your colleagues.”
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“When a mom does a search for a pediatrician in Mountain View today, instead of being matched with highly reviewed rich content from a service like ZocDoc, she’s being steered into a review database that is low quality according to Google’s own algorithmic standards,” Yelp senior vice president of public policy Luther Lowe told Fortune in a statement. “This pro-Google campaign encourages Google to re-embrace its ethos of driving users toward the best information from around the web while also aiding the desire for quick answers. Both goals can be accomplished if Googlers introspect and consider better design decisions.”
In its own statement to Fortune, a Google spokesperson said that the company doesn’t “make changes to our algorithm to disadvantage competitors.” The spokesperson added that Google’s “responsibility is to deliver the best results possible to our users, not specific placements for sites within our results.”
“We understand that those sites whose ranking falls will be unhappy and may complain publicly,” the spokesperson added.
Here’s the video, so you can watch it for yourself: