Views & Reviews

Google needs better control of its advertisements and suggested links

BMJ 2009; 338 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.b1083 (Published 18 March 2009) Cite this as: BMJ 2009;338:b1083
  1. Marco Masoni, researcher1,
  2. Maria Renza Guelfi, researcher1,
  3. Gian Franco Gensini, dean2
  1. 1Faculty of Medicine, University of Florence
  2. 2Department of Critical and Surgical Care, University of Florence
  1. Correspondence to: M Masoni m.masoni{at}med.unifi.it

    Searching for information is one of the most popular uses of the internet, and medical information is among the types of information that are most sought. Therefore how internet search engines present sources of information to users is important. As the internet is not well policed and regulated, it is up to members of the medical community to be vigilant and to suggest improvements.

    Google, the most popular internet search engine, earns much of its revenue from advertisements related to search terms entered into it. We have noticed that Google’s sponsored links are sometimes to web pages that contain worrying medical claims. On 19 January 2009 we used Google Italia to search on the keyword “aloe.” On the first page of results two sponsored links appeared at the top of the …

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