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Microsoft criticises Google over e-commerce search results

06 December 2012 - 10:43 by David Aiken

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Google's search engine is responsible for handling the majority of queries made in the UK, although since Microsoft launched Bing three years ago, it has been gradually clawing back some market share from its rival.

It is unsurprising that these two competitors might occasionally clash over topics which relate to their search businesses, but the most recent confrontation is particularly heated.

Microsoft is claiming that Google's e-commerce search tool, which allows people to search for products to buy via safe shopping online, is being influenced by cash handed over by retailers.

It is alleged that higher ranking listings are only achievable if a retailer is willing to pay Google for the privilege.

Of course, Google has always relied on ad revenues to make its search engine profitable, but it usually distinguishes its natural results from its sponsored links, so that users know when they are being advertised to and when they are getting the best possible result based on their query.

The Associated Free Press reports that a Google spokesperson denied the claims made by Microsoft, stating that Google Shopping only offers customers the opportunity to compare the price of products across multiple retailers, without the influence of ad money.

Google Shopping has been revised in recent weeks, giving consumers in the UK and elsewhere an overhauled set of tools, to help them make the most out of safe shopping online.

Bing is also hoping to raise its profile as a good search engine for those looking to purchase products on the web.

But of course, many consumers do not use search engines at all when trying to find items they want to buy. They will either turn to a trusted online retailer or ask their friends and family for advice via social media.