Google “bias” survey — start of a flame war?

Danny Goodman may have stirred up a hornet’s nest with his criticism of a survey conducted by Benjamin Edelman and Benjamin Lockwood.  This attempted to measure bias in the organic search results of Google and to a lesser extent Yahoo, Bing, AOL, and Ask; the conclusion is that each search engine offers results that linking to pages using its own services more often.  Moreover, Google’s algorithmic search results link to Google’s own services more than three times as often as other search engines link to services provided by Google services. This can mean that, for selected keywords, biased results promote the interests of search engine companies rather than those of searchers.

In his SearchEngineWatch blog of 21 January 2011, Goodman provides a critique of the conclusions drawn from the survey, its approach and the results and concludes that the survey is, itself, biased.  In the subsequent correspondence — which can be read by scrolling through to the end of the blog — Edelman responds and Goodman replies.  Inconclusive?  Well, yes, but certainly thought-provoking!

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