Google to Face Federal Antitrust Probe

The FTC has launched a probe into Google and its behavior in the search market. The Wall Street Journal yesterday reported that the Federal Trade Commission was poised to issue subpoenas to the search giant, launching the formal investigation into the company’s dominance in web search advertising.

People familiar with the matter told the newspaper that the investigation would include whether Google searches unfairly steer users to the Google's own network of services at the expense of rival providers. Expedia, TripAdvisor, WebMD.com, Yelp.com and Citysearch.com have all apparently complained about Google’s habit of promoting its own services unfairly.

Though the investigation is focused on Google’s core business, the company could have nothing to worry about. According to the Journal, it’s not illegal to own a monopoly, you just can’t acquire one lawfully or abuse one.

Google confirmed the investigation earlier today. Speaking via the official Google blog, Amit Singhal said Google would cooperate with the FTC's probe.

"At Google, we’ve always focused on putting the user first," Singhal wrote. "We aim to provide relevant answers as quickly as possible—and our product innovation and engineering talent have delivered results that users seem to like, in a world where the competition is only one click away.

"Still, we recognize that our success has led to greater scrutiny. Yesterday, we received formal notification from the U.S. Federal Trade Commission that it has begun a review of our business. We respect the FTC’s process and will be working with them (as we have with other agencies) over the coming months to answer questions about Google and our services."

Check out the full post here.

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  • RogueKitsune
    Google offers a bunch of services in one place so you don't have to go everywhere on the web, and offers(in my opinion)great service to the end user.... Isn't that pretty much what WalMart and other super-retail stores do now a days(well except maybe the customer service part). They don't get called monopolies just because people like getting everything there and ignore the specialty shops(places that only offer one service). So why should Google get in trouble for essentially doing the same thing.
    Beside if i remember correctly it is not illegal for a content provider to promote its own services over a competitors its just illegal to block people access to a competitors service(I could be wrong :\ ).
  • kire
    I would just like to quickly point out that when you do a google or a google map search for establishments (i.e. restaurants, apartments, etc) that it pulls up results from yelp, apartments.com, and such.
  • the_krasno
    Remember that little town in Florida that disappeared from Google one day and as a result its local business lost thousands of dollars worth of online and phone sales?
    Google is vital now. We need water, we need electricity, we need internet, we need the Google. It's a verb now!!
    Do we "bing" for stuff? Or "yahoo" them? NO! We google!
  • Other Comments
  • RogueKitsune
    Google offers a bunch of services in one place so you don't have to go everywhere on the web, and offers(in my opinion)great service to the end user.... Isn't that pretty much what WalMart and other super-retail stores do now a days(well except maybe the customer service part). They don't get called monopolies just because people like getting everything there and ignore the specialty shops(places that only offer one service). So why should Google get in trouble for essentially doing the same thing.
    Beside if i remember correctly it is not illegal for a content provider to promote its own services over a competitors its just illegal to block people access to a competitors service(I could be wrong :\ ).
  • kire
    I would just like to quickly point out that when you do a google or a google map search for establishments (i.e. restaurants, apartments, etc) that it pulls up results from yelp, apartments.com, and such.
  • mactronix
    They have lots of money the same as MS and the government is just making up rulings to fine them and get a big pay out.
    Expect the EU to follow suite

    Mactronix