Around 45 per cent of respondents in a pan-India survey have found ratings and reviews on Google were inaccurate while 37 found the reviews to be positively biased, online survey platform LocalCircles said on Monday.
The LocalCircles survey on online ratings and reviews was carried out covering 56,000 respondents across 357 districts of India while the number of responses to each question varied.
The survey found that 88 per cent of those who go on Google to find contact details or the location of a business often go through reviews and ratings on the platform.
In response to a question on the biggest issue that users find with Google ratings and reviews for a business like hotels, restaurants, stores, services, professional, etc, "45 per cent felt they were just inaccurate and 37 per cent indicated that they generally find them to be positively biased," the survey said.
When contacted, a Google spokesperson said that the reviews feature available on certain Google products is intended to share helpful information based on real experiences and information.
"We have policies covering such features that prohibit fake and fraudulently contributed content and all deliberately inauthentic or incorrect content. In addition to flags from users, our automated systems and trained operators work around the clock to monitor for suspicious behaviour. Upon being notified, we take prompt and effective steps to disable reviews, in accordance with applicable local laws and policies. We continue to invest in technology across our products to help people find reliable local information on Google," the spokesperson said.
According to the survey, only 3 per cent of those surveyed stated that they have "high levels of trust" in the ratings and reviews posted on Google and 7 per cent have "zero trust".
The Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) has issued guidelines to safeguard customers from fake online reviews of products, which came into effect on November 25, 2022.
The new guidelines prescribe responsibilities for the review author and the review administrator and are now applicable to every online platform operating in India, which publishes consumer ratings and reviews.
"While the IS 19000: 2022 guidelines provide a framework for online reviews and ratings, platforms like Google must make structural changes to comply. These include ensuring that every user account that is submitting a rating or a review must be validated and tied to a phone number, real email or some government-issued identification. That will ensure that people are rating and reviewing with accountability to some extent," the survey report said.
The survey claims to have received 67 per cent responses from men while 33 per cent from women.
Out of the total, 47 per cent of respondents were from tier 1, 33 per cent from tier 2 and 20 per cent respondents were from tier 3, 4 and rural districts, according to the survey report.