The Federal Trade Commission is investigating whether Google is abusing its dominant position in internet search and advertising in order to stifle competition. The Washington Post reports that Google will be required to convince regulators that its search results are designed to provide users with the best recommendations rather than bury links to rival content.
The inquiry is looking to see if a user's search for a local business is more likely to bring up a Google listing from its services, Google Places as opposed to one from Google competitor Yelp. Or whether a request for directions will first bring up a Google Map over a competing map site. The review will also investigate whether placement of results on the page favors Google advertisers over similar products offered my non-advertisers. Other websites content Google has programmed its search engine to drive up ad prices and block ads perceived as competitive threats. Google's revenues this year are expected to exceed $35 billion dollars. European regulators are already looking into Google's business practices.
The Washington Post
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