FTC Investigating Google

Jun 24, 2011  •  Post A Comment

The Federal Trade Commission confirmed Friday that it is investigating Google, but the agency would not give the reason, Multichannel News reports.

The announcement came after Google itself reported on its policy blog that the FTC had launched a review of Google’s business, adding that the company was also unclear about the reason for the probe.

Multichannel News reported: “According to a source, in an SEC filing Google said it had been subpoenaed and the issues were its search and advertising businesses. The FTC spokesperson would not discuss the subject of the inquiry or confirm the subpoena.”

Google had this to say: "Since the beginning, we have been guided by the idea that, if we focus on the user, all else will follow. No matter what you’re looking for–buying a movie ticket, finding the best burger nearby, or watching a royal wedding–we want to get you the information you want as quickly as possible. Sometimes the best result is a link to another website. Other times it’s a news article, sports score, stock quote, a video or a map. 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."

Critics of Google have focused on the company’s control over where companies and ads rank in search results, and have said that level of control is similar to controls that have been regulated with regard to Internet service providers in the FCC’s network neutrality rules.

The Multichannel News report also notes: “The FTC back in 2009 investigated the overlapping board memberships of Google and Apple, eventually commending board member Arthur Levinson, who held seats on both boards, to resign from Apple.”

Also in the report: “Back in March, Google settled an FTC charge that it had violated its privacy policies when it launched social network Google Buzz. But the FTC approved Google’s purchase of DoubleClick back in 2007 signaling no conflict in combining the search powerhouse and online ad company.”

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