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Can you trust what you see on Google?

The Google search page appears on a computer screen in Washington on Aug. 30, 2010.

We speak with professor Ben Edelman of Harvard's business school about his research. He says what it comes down to is that Google is more likely to mention itself than other search engines are to mention Google. The results are tilted. Edelman stops short of accusing Google of tinkering with the results; he says that part is unclear.

Google, not surprisingly, is fighting back against this study, or more particularly, against its author. Google spokesman Adam Kovacevich joins us and points out that Edelman is a paid consultant for Microsoft, the company behind Bing, which comes out looking the most objective in the study.

Edelman counters that while he has done consulting work for Microsoft, it was on an unrelated topic and Microsoft has not been a part of this latest study in any way.

The nice thing about the web is that you can read about all of this stuff for yourself. See what you think:

Here is Edelman's study.

Here is a criticism of it by one of our frequent guests, Danny Sullivan of Search Engine Land.

Also in this program, we call up The Muse. It's a songwriter's helper website designed by Burr Settles at Carnegie Mellon University. The Muse pulls data from 200,000 songs to suggest possible song titles to get you started, keywords for lyrics, song structures, and plot outlines. It can't give you talent, however. Some things even technology can't pull off.

About the author

John Moe is the host of Marketplace Tech Report, where he provides an insightful overview of the latest tech news.

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