Many of you know the controversy between Google and TripAdvisor, leading to TripAdvisor saying they are blocking Google from obtaining their reviews. Mike says some of the reviews have returned but that might not be the case.
The latest on this story is a bigger article about the anti-competitive nature of Google by promoting their own content, which often isn't even theirs. The Wall Street Journal wrote Rivals Say Google Plays Favorites saying:
Google Inc. increasingly is promoting some of its own content over that of rival websites when users perform an online search, prompting competing sites to cry foul. The Internet giant is displaying links to its own servicessuch as local-business information or its Google Health serviceabove the links to other, non-Google content found by its search engine.
Google, which is developing more content or specialized-search sites in hopes of boosting ad revenue, says that prominently displaying links to them is more useful to Web searchers than just displaying links to sites that rank highly in its search system. But the moves mean Google increasingly is at odds with websites that rely on the search engine for visitors.
Google responded to this at the Google Public Policy Blog saying:
Answering users' queries accurately and quickly is our number one goal. Sometimes the best, most relevant answer to a query is our traditional ten blue links, and sometimes it is a news article, sports score, stock quote, video, or a map.
As Susan and Udi wrote, we built Google for users, not websites. We welcome ongoing dialog with webmasters to help ensure were building great products, but at the end of the day, users come first. If we fail our users, competition is just a click away.
So Google is clear, they won't change anything here.
If you want some thoughtful opinion about this, I'd read Greg Sterling's take at Search Engine Land, He concluded:
The powerful will always be tempted to utilize their power for unfair gain. The duty of regulators is to keep markets fair and functioning for the good of the larger system and society. When any single company becomes too powerful or gains too much control over a market segment governments should look carefully to see if any manipulation or bad behavior is going on.
However in my mind the Google Places algorithm aint it.