Germany Wants Access to Google’s Search Algorithm

German Justice Minister Heiko Maas has asked Google to give up its search algorithm so he can get a better hold on the whole competition and monopoly question.

Google is dancing with Europe over competition and has been dealing with the demands of European Commission member Joaquín Almunia. The German justice champion Maas has been interviewed by the Financial Times newspaper (paywalled) and did not hold back about his demands.

Asked whether he agreed that Google should be feared, Maas said that it needs observing, particularly because of its size, reach and presence.

He said that Google is so dominant that anything that does not feature in Google’s top search results might as well not exist, adding that this is not right and fair.

“With a market share of 95 percent, Google dominates the search engine world, and is able to rank its search results in a manner apt to promote its own business interests. And that is not acceptable. We must think about how to solve this problem,” he said.

“In the end it relates to how transparent the algorithms are that Google uses to rank its search results. When a search engine has such an impact on economic development, this is an issue we have to address.”

We have asked Google if it would like to respond to the concerns of the minister and his comments to the Financial Times.

Typically when we ask the firm about Europe and its competition concerns, Google responds with a statement about its continuing cooperation. We have asked it often.

In a statement sent today, Google said that this is a hoary issue that has been chewed over for the best part of a decade.

“This question has been scrutinized for a total of eight years in the U.S. and Europe, and regulators have found that we don’t use our algorithms to target competitors,” said a spokesperson.

“Making our algorithms available for everyone to see sounds simple, but it would let spammers, sites with malware, and low-quality websites game our system, which hurts our users.” µ

This article was originally published on the Inquirer.

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