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TechCrunch: "Google Places Now Borrowing Yelp Reviews Without Attribution In iPhone App"

TechCrunch points out another stunning example of Google “content scraping”* – this time in mobile search.

According to the post: “Google Places is at it again, brazenly borrowing reviews from Yelp. But this time it’s in their iPhone app and they are not even bothering to link back to Yelp or attribute where they are getting the reviews.”

Here’s the scoop:

“Here is what appears to be going on based on a handful of spot checks in the Google Places iPhone app. For many places such as restaurants, Google Places offers “Reviews from around the Web” in its iPhone app just like it does online. The difference is that the reviews from Yelp are no longer identified as such and there are no links either. For example, if you look up Le Colonial restaurant in New York City, the top “Reviews from around the Web” are two Yelp reviews properly identified with links In the mobile app, there is no attribution or links…


From the TechCrunch article



What’s more: “These do not appear to be isolated incidents. Does Google Places really need to stoop to that level?”

Good question.

The screenshots are a must-see. We have to believe this is just the tip of the iceberg… If you’ve got other examples, send them our way and we’ll post!

*What’s content scraping, you ask? It’s when a website steals (“scrapes”) content from other sites and then uses it as its own – instead of developing original content. Remember Google’s changes to its algorithm earlier this year? According to Matt Cutts, Google’s Principal Engineer, those algorithm changes were designed in part to address content scrapers: “We’re evaluating multiple changes that should help drive spam levels even lower, including one change that primarily affects sites that copy others’ content and sites with low levels of original content.” So what’s Google’s position on content scraping? Seems to be do-as-we-say-not-as-we-do.