Microsoft's eye-tracking study on Google has a familiar shape

Google has already made a few concessions to please European antitrust regulators worried about fair placements in web search results. However, Microsoft doesn't feel those sacrifices are good enough -- and it claims to have scientific proof that more changes are necessary. One of the company's astroturfing outfits, Initiative for a Competitive Online Marketplace, has commissioned an eye-tracking study which suggests that Google's lower-profile sponsored links and map results still draw too much visual attention. "Organic" search results and alternative services get just a fraction of the eyeballs, the Initiative argues. While the data may be of some use to officials, we'd advise taking it with a giant grain of salt -- company-backed studies are rarely objective sources of information.

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Microsoft uses eye tracking to argue that Google distorts search results