Google Uses its Search Engine to Promote its Own Products: WSJ


According to a new report from The Wall Street Journal, Google is using the space above its search results to promote its own products.

The report notes that the search giant was using its own precious space in order to push various products like its own Pixel phones, as well as Nest products and Android smartwatches.

Whenever someone enters a search term related to a piece of hardware, ads for the relevant items sold by either Google or a sister company would appear in the most prominent spot on the page 91 percent of the time.

After the Journal presented the findings of the analysis to Google on December 15, there were significantly fewer ads for its own products. Google has said that they consciously and carefully designed its advertising features in a way that will not affect other advertisers.

The ads that show up above Google search results are chosen by an algorithmic auction that the search engine conducts in a fraction of a second. The algorithm determines which ads are featured most prominently, in addition to the cost per click. Google is only paid by the advertiser if a user clicks on the ad.

Last year, the European Union accused Google of abusing its position by promoting its own products on search results, giving it an ‘unfair advantage’ over its competitors. Google denied the allegations, however, EU continues to investigate. If Google is found to have violated Europe’s laws, the search giant could pay upwards of $7 billion in fines.


  • Aleks Oniszczak

    Google seems to be allowed to take info from any website and put its own ads next to it in place of the original ads.

    E.g. Google “How to make coffee” and Google will show you the complete 7 stage process on the top of the search results page. Most users won’t need to click on the link to the page where the information came from so that page will not make any money from ads.

    I use an ad blocker, so correct me if I’m wrong – but I believe Google puts its own ads on the search results page – which makes Google money instead of the page the info was lifted from.

    This fine and convenient I guess, but I’ll bet if you tried the same thing, you’d have a call from a lawyer telling you to stop it. Seems like a double standard to me.

  • jay

    Google does a great job overall. All these nice service for free. Sure we loose some privacy but what is privacy?
    What about apple ? App Store is a good example. If you pay apple you end on the top of the search results!

  • sully54

    I’ve stopped using google and switched to DuckDuckGo. It’s surprisingly just as good for my use.

  • Salinger

    So what? They’re promoting Google products on the search results page you just used for free. No problem with it whatsoever. Plenty of alternatives out there for anyone who is bothered by it.

    I can’t say that I’ve noticed it and I do a lot of searches for tech products.