Google is being accused of favoring its own sites in searches.
Sure, you might think someone searches for "search engine", and Google comes top - no big deal. But Google websites now encompass every area of the web, and compete directly with every other site, in some way or other.
Here, for example, is some original research: if you search google for "the official blog of the Media Research" (text that appears on every Newsbusters page), include the quotes as this tells Google to look for the exact string, and the 9th result is:
which is a tiny ultra-low-volume user website, but hosted on a Google site . It has the exact same text as a Newsbusters page, and should be much lower ranked in google, but is rated higher than the original page (in fact the original page does not even appear in the results ). This is quite clear evidence that Google favors its own sites, as the original page does in fact exist in the Google index.
And why are there only 28 results for this search anyway? Every page of newsbusters has that text. And we know they are in the Google database. Clearly Google is withholding results. On what basis do they withhold results? Isn't this a breach of trust? Do we not expect a search engine to live up to its name, and simply be a search-engine?
Ten years ago, you could search for some text, and Google would find it, somewhere in the vastness of the Internet. Now we get "no results found" all the time. The effect of this is to "mainstream" the web - Google is only showing what it chooses to be the top sites, and so the Web is not so much the varied source of information that it used to be, if you search through Google.
That said, you can't deny that Google's results are usually very relevant. But it's on the interesting searches that Google fails today. I prefer christian search, which combines results from many engines.
But there are other strange results of Google dominance. If you do an image search for "michelle obama", the 1st image is of a monkey, blended with Mrs. Obama's face. There is no good reason for this image to have the highest ranking in Google. In fact, that particular image has been the top image result for "michelle obama" for over 2 years. But previously, the image was hosted at another location. The owner of the previous website deleted the image (making it "404" not found), but then the top Google link miraculously changed to exactly the same image, but at another location. Some say this is an example of Google trying to slur opposition to Obama as racist.
In fact, the image was from a website that allowed people ot create monkey-pictures of any politican, and by far the most popular image was President Bush. But that context does not come across to the average person who typed "michelle obama" into Google image search.
As with the old Big Media - it is not easy to categorically state "this is what is being done, and this is how it is being done" - and yet, we are seeing the same propagandistic effects from the new Big Media that we have been seeing from the old Big Media for 40 years.