“These are the principles that guide us, and we know they’ll stand up to scrutiny,” Google said today in a post to the Official Google Blog, in response to scrutiny from the U.S. Federal Trade Commission.
So it’s official now. Google says it has received formal notification from the FTC that it has begun its review. Those principles Google (or more specifically, Google Fellow Amit Singal) mentioned, are outlined as follows:
- Do what’s best for the user. We make hundreds of changes to our algorithms every year to improve your search experience. Not every website can come out at the top of the page, or even appear on the first page of our search results.
- Provide the most relevant answers as quickly as possible. Today, when you type “weather in Chicago” or “how many feet in a mile” into our search box, you get the answers directly—often before you hit “enter”. And we’re always trying to figure out new ways to answer even more complicated questions just as clearly and quickly. Advertisements offer useful information, too, which is why we also work hard to ensure that our ads are relevant to you.
- Label advertisements clearly. Google always distinguishes advertisements from our organic search results. As we experiment with new ad formats and new types of content, we will continue to be transparent about what is an ad and what isn’t.
- Be transparent. We share more information about how our rankings work than any other search engine, through our Webmaster Central site, blog, diagnostic tools,support forum, and YouTube. We also give advertisers detailed information about thead auction and tips to improve their ad quality scores. We’ve recently introduced even more transparency tools, announcing a major change to our algorithm, providing morenotice when a website is demoted due to spam violations, and giving advertisers new information about ads that break our rules.
- Loyalty, not lock-in. We firmly believe you control your data, so we have a team of engineers whose only goal is to help you take your information with you. We want you to stay with us because we’re innovating and making our products better—not because you’re locked in.
“It’s still unclear exactly what the FTC’s concerns are, but we’re clear about where we stand,” Singhal says. He also sprinkled in a bit at the end about Google “ensuring that businesses can grow and create jobs.”
Will Google’s principles stand up to scrutiny? Time will tell. It’s expected to be a lengthy process. What do you think?