Is Google favouring Google Groups in Discussion search?

I am doing some research for a client identifying conversations and communities, using as just one of the tools, Google’s search by Discussions option.  I was finding that Google Groups seemed to rank very highly here and therefore wondered if this was just a quirk of the (relatively specialist) subject matter I was investigating and therefore an interesting insight to report to the client.  But then, switching topics, I found the same thing – a high prevalence of Google Groups in Google Discussion search.

Is Google therefore artificially boosting the rank of content in Google Groups, over and above other forums or platforms, in order to increase the attractiveness of Google Groups as a platform for group or community formation?  Or is what I have found just a chance effect?  Would be worth taking a closer look at this – hence why I have flagged this for Eli Pariser, author of the excellent The Filter Bubble and expert Google watcher.

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