Google and Wall Street JournalCollator or curator? Google has always sold itself as the former, telling us that it orders results in terms of relevance only. But according to a bombshell report dropped by those wily folks at the Wall Street Journal, the coveted first page of Google might be more hand-crafted than the search engine giant would have you believe.

According to the report – which, for those with an allergy to paywalls, is neatly and freely summarized here – Google was discovered to be doing a wealth of things that they pinky-promised they wouldn’t, including:

  • favoring big businesses over small
  • blacklisting certain political content
  • and the giving inside word on algorithms to its powerful buds

An opposing view has been served up by Barry Schwartz in a scathing article that picks apart the Wall Street Journal’s arguments one by one. Schwartz has a number of fair points and raises questions about the credibility of the WSJ report.

The upshot? Whether you believe the revelations and/or take umbrage at them, Google is still the only game in town. I suppose you could try SEO-ing websites for more Ask Jeeves traffic. The real test of the report will come in the form of government anti-trust action, which has the potential to bust up Google and other behemoths into a handful of smaller pieces and introduce some competition.

Stay tuned (to Google News, no doubt)