SACRAMENTO (CBS Sacramento) – When we type a search term in Google, we expect we’re getting an unfiltered look at the most appropriate websites.

But a new report says that isn’t always the case.

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Legal scholar and former Federal Trade Commission adviser Tim Wu has written that Google is blatantly manipulating search results to benefit its clients and hurt competitors.

Wu told Re/code that the search engine giant is purposely hampering the Internet experience.

“The main surprising and shocking realization is that Google is not presenting its best product,” he said. “In fact, it’s presenting a version of the product that’s degraded and intentionally worse for consumers.”

The evidence for Wu’s claim comes from Yelp, the local reviews site. It built a browser plugin based on Google’s search page.

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Yelp tested its search page version against Google’s by surveying 2,690 users. They were able to click through the map for its version at a 45 percent higher rate. Wu argues that is evidence that Google is holding back the best results.

“The easy and widely disseminated argument that Google’s universal search always serves users and merchants is demonstrably false,” he wrote in the paper. “Instead, in the largest category of search (local intent-­based), Google appears to be strategically deploying universal search in a way that degrades the product so as to slow and exclude challengers to its dominant search paradigm.”

Google has repeatedly denied similar accusations. It is now embroiled in a legal fight in the European Union over claims it has nerfed its search results.

Though he was compensated by Yelp for the study, Wu said that did not influence his research.

“They are paying me for my time,” Wu explained. “But I wouldn’t be doing this if I didn’t think this new evidence was a game-changer.”

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