Google executive chairman Eric Schmidt has told a US Senate hearing that the company does not manipulate search results to ensure its own pages receive preferential treatment.

The former CEO is currently testifying to a Judiciary Hearing at which Google faces accusations from rival shopping sites that reckon it is receiving unfair treatment in search results.

With sites like Yelp and Nextag alleging a lack of fair play, Schmidt insisted that there's nothing sinister about the way Google ranks search results.

"Not every Web site can come on top. There are definitely complaints from businesses who want to be first in rankings even when they're not the best match."

No cooking

During the hearing, Senator Mike Lee told Schmidt that Google has "cooked it (search results) so that you're always third."

Schmidt responded: "Senator, may I simply say that I can assure you we've not cooked anything."

Google is coming under increasing scrutiny in Washington, with a Trade Commission investigating whether the company is abusing its position as the the world's most dominant search engine.

In a testimony to today's hearing, Yelp CEO Jeremy Stoppleman reckons that Google is no longer in the business of providing links to the best content on the web, but promoting its own businesses.

He will tell the hearing: "Google is no longer in the business of sending people to the best sources of information on the Web. It now hopes to be a destination site itself."

The hearing continues.

Via: WSJ