Google+ Local Map Packs

A consortium of rival local review and directory sites led by Yelp, has used Google’s own algorithm to prove a point against the web giant’s Google+ Local (map pack) search results. The results of this argument could possibly lead to a new application of the defunct “rival links” compromise that arose in Google-EU antitrust procedures.

What the consortium, called Focus On The User, notes as a flaw of Google’s approach is their decision to only display Google + results when users attempt to find reviews through its system. The consortium that is comprised of Yelp, TripAdvisor and a host of other European agencies, has shown conclusively that Google’s statement that their Google + results operate in the best interests of the user is not true.

Proving The User’s Best Interest

A Chrome browser plugin that incorporates additional content from third party publishers into the map pack was developed and shown to provide greater access for users to relevant search results. Google’s own algorithm was shown to rank these results higher than those provided solely by Google.

The modified map packs were shown to drive a significantly higher number of clicks than the standard Google+ Local results, indicating that users are being harmed by Google only inserting its own proprietary content at the top of local searches.

What The Consortium Wants From Google

What Focus On The User wants is to convince Google to provide their mix of relevant search results as well as the Google+ Local listings, and for those listings to be arranged in the long-standard manner used by Google’s own web search algorithm.

While the decision for Google to choose what results it wants to display on its own search engine involves a degree of sovereignty, Focus On The User claims to have the EU-backed power to make Google comply with their request.

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