But this summer, President Donald Trump caused a brief uproar by claiming (without evidence) that Google suppressed positive news about him.
But that proposal hadn’t come from one of Silicon Valley’s many ideological enemies — it was supposedly promoted by recommendations site Yelp, which has spent years protesting what it calls unfair demotion of its search results.
So it’s understandable to ask Google to be impartial — but can a search engine, whose goal is ranking pages, ever be meaningfully neutral?
Websites have been fighting Google over search rankings almost since the company was founded — in 2002, a site called Search King sued Google over a suddenly demoted PageRank score.
It came from Shivaun and Adam Raff, the creators of a price-comparison service called Foundem.
In the late ‘00s, they helped popularize the controversial concept of “search neutrality” — which turned Google’s support for network neutrality, a well-known and popular idea, against it.