As a response to continuous backlash from politicians, press, and consumers, Google has announced to redesign its search results.
Google has recently made changes in its search results making advertisements looks like a search result.
The reason why Google incorporated changes is that Google earns more money when users of its search service click on ads, while it does not make money when people click on an unpaid search result.
Users began noticing the changes to search results last week, and at least one user flagged the changes earlier this week.
Google responded to the concerns claiming that the new design was intended to achieve the opposite effect of what it was actually doing.
“Last year, our search results on mobile gained a new look. That’s now rolling out to desktop results this week, presenting site domain names and brand icons prominently, along with a bold ‘Ad’ label for ads,” the company wrote from its corporate account.
Speaking to the Washington Post, Senator Mark Warner also noted the problems with the search engine after alterations.
“We’ve seen multiple instances over the last few years where Google has made paid advertisements ever more indistinguishable from organic search results,” Warner told the Washington Post.
He further added, “This is yet another example of a platform exploiting its bottleneck power for commercial gain, to the detriment of both consumers and also small businesses.”
Google’s altered its search results despite the fact that the company is already being investigated by every state in the US for ‘antitrust violations’.
According to Techcrunch, Google carried this out to push the advertising revenues that had witnessed a steep decline over the past few years. The company is also facing a slowdown in its core business.
Techcrunch further mentioned that, Google has adopted the same policy it had earlier considered to become the premier search service in the US.
When the company first launched its search service, ads were demarcated and separated from actual search results returned by Google’s algorithm. Over time, the separation between what was an ad and what wasn’t became vague and blurred.
“Search results were near-instant and they were just a page of links and summaries – perfection with nothing to add or take away,” Harry Brignull ,user experience expert and founder of the watchdog website darkpatterns.org) said of the original Google search results in an interview with TechCrunch.
According to Brignull, the back-propagation algorithm Google introduced had never been used to index the web before. It instantly left the competition in the dust. It was proof that engineers could disrupt the rules of the web without needing any suit-wearing executives.
“As Google’s ambitions changed, the tinted box started to fade. It’s completely gone now,” Brignull added.
Google has acknowledged that its latest experiment has not been a user-friendly one and it will “experiment further” to deliver better results.
(With inputs from Techcrunch)