With Google’s Chrome OS in beta testing, and true “netbooks” scheduled for release by Asus and Samsung later this year, regulators in the European Union and Washington are making rumbling noises about anti-competitive practice at the world’s search engine leader. Meanwhile, search engine optimization firms focus on how the introduction of Chrome OS will impact the SEO services they provide.
In, perhaps, a preemptory move, Google’s Matt Cutt’s delivered a report to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), in which he stressed that, “Google’s results are determined by an algorithm and not tweaked to get particular sites ranking well.”
According to the Washington Post, Cutts told the FTC that,“(t)he only reasons I know of to go in and change [search rankings] manually is for security, a court order or spam.” “It is impossible to pay for a better ranking,” he noted.
Cutt’s report to the FTC came amid speculations that Google might weigh its search rankings to favor its own interests, speculations that have only increased since Google’s purchase of ITA, an internet travel booking agency. (There are reports that the U.S. Justice department is considering bringing an antitrust lawsuit against Google in the wake of the ITA deal.)
Regulators may be missing the boat, however. Google is unlikely to tamper with the search algorithm that is at the core of its business and its success as the search engine of choice worldwide “People choose to go to Google,” Cutts told the FTC. “There is no barrier to entry, and with one click they can choose to go to another search engine.”
With the upcoming debut of Chrome OS, Google will be morphing into a multi-limbed search engine, software developer, data storage and service provider, directly challenging Internet icons like Microsoft, Oracle and Amazon.com.
Rather than being the current “search engine of choice,” Google’s home page will be the sole portal to Chrome OS users. While other search engines may be only “one click” away, it seems improbable that Google would derail its plans to be an all-in-one cloud computing provider by weighting its search results in favor of clearly subsidiary business interests.
While U.S. and E.U. regulators may be disturbed by Google’s decade-long market dominance, search engine optimization professionals will continue to focus on the elements of Google’s algorithm that helps to ensure their clients high page ranking, a task that will likely become even more challenging (yet rewarding) with the introduction of Chrome OS.