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."