Last week, Google announced local “best-of lists” content will start to show in its mobile app search results. On August 4, the company posted, “Starting today in the US, when you search on your Google app for the best spots to eat and drink, you’ll have access to reviews from top critics and best-of lists from reputable publishers.”
The idea is to offer more local search content to mobile users on the go. Below is an example of what it looks like. However, Google’s rivals don’t think this improves the user experience. They see it as anticompetitive.
Recode captured tweets from Yelp CEO Jeremy Stoppelman and TripAdvisor CEO Stephen Kaufer that were highly critical of the move. Stoppelman tweeted that “Google monopolist not satisfied with above the fold they’ve now claimed “‘page 2.'”
— Jeremy Stoppelman (@jeremys) August 5, 2016
Asked for a comment today, a Yelp spokesperson responded, “This is just yet another example of Google finding ways to preference its house-owned properties (here, Zagat) since they don’t perform/score well organically.”
Similar complaints are at the center of the “search bias” antitrust complaint in Europe — Google “favoring its own content” at the expense of party publishers. Google denies this claim and takes the position that its actions are about improving the user experience, not about suppressing or marginalizing others’ content.
There’s a great deal at stake in this debate, given that something approaching 60 percent of search queries now happen on mobile devices.
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