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monday6 Apr 2020

Google Given an Ultimatum by UK Court to Withdraw Evidence to Its Defence or Disclose the Details of Its Search Algorithm

https://www.searchenginejournal.com

Google is involved in a lawsuit that has the potential to result in the company revealing its long-guarded algorithm secrets. This whole situation stems from a lawsuit against Google by a company called Foundem dating back to 2012. According to Foundem’s claims, Google deliberately ranked its own products ahead of Foundem in search results starting in 2006.

Foundem was a vertical-search engine for finding the lowest online prices. Foundem appeared quite prominently in search results, in fact, often appearing on the first page for shopping-related searches. Foundem claimed they were buried in Google’s search results in an effort to stifle competition against Google Shopping.

In an effort by Google to prove it didn’t engage in anti-competitive practices it provided confidential documents to the UK High Court.  Foundem argues that the details of Google’s search algorithm would be too technical for lawyers to understand, so they want to bring in an SEO expert Philipp Kloeckner. Google argues that giving its algorithm information to an SEO would compromise the integrity of its ranking process:

The integrity of Google’s ranking processes relies upon all webmasters or website owners having the same degree of access to information about Google’s ranking… This will no longer be the case if information of this kind is made available to some individuals offering commercial services to assist companies to improve their Search ranking

Foundem suggests Google could simply withdraw the documents in question so no one ever has to see them. Google then argues the documents are vital to proving its defence.

Get your popcorn out folks this should be interesting. We’ll have to wait and see how this plays out.

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