Report: FTC Starting To Ask Google Search Questions Again

Back in 2013, Google fell under investigation by the United States Federal Trade Commission for alleged anti-competitive practices in regards to their core search business. The case alleged that Google's steering of search results toward their own services hurt competition. The FTC determined in the end, that Google's own services did, in fact, deserve top billing in results, and voted unanimously to close the case, garnering agreement from one former member of the commission who heard about the closing. For all intents and purposes, the way Google's search works had been taken apart, viewed under a microscope and found to be compliant with applicable laws and good for consumers and competition. The widespread opinion was that the investigation had only come because of Google's dominant position in the market and that they had, in reality done nothing wrong.

Now, a new report out of Politico states that sources have revealed that officials are starting to ask questions of Google again, which is leading to the assumption that a new investigation by the FTC could arise. The writing on the wall began with an article which emerged last year and revealed that during the course of the FTC's investigation, FTC staff had recommended bringing a suit against Google, which was essentially put to rest when the commissioners publicly defended their actions. Later, the same former commissioner who had supported the case closing co-authoring a study, supported by Google's very vocal critic Yelp, that says that Google's behavior might be "reducing consumer welfare." A senate antitrust hearing last month, in the wake of the EU's aggressive antitrust moves against Google, saw Senator Richard Blumenthal saying that Google's position lends itself to "...legitimate questions about whether they have used their market power to disadvantage competitors unfairly and ultimately limit consumer choice."

Since the investigation, two commissioners have left, leaving the commission down to three members, two of whom are Democrats and one who is a Republican. At this time, no official statement has been made regarding the possibility of opening a new investigation against Google, but the signs are there that some people high up in the chain of command are beginning to call Google's actions back into question.

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Daniel Fuller

Senior Staff Writer
Daniel has been writing for Android Headlines since 2015, and is one of the site's Senior Staff Writers. He's been living the Android life since 2010, and has been interested in technology of all sorts since childhood. His personal, educational and professional backgrounds in computer science, gaming, literature, and music leave him uniquely equipped to handle a wide range of news topics for the site. These include the likes of machine learning, voice assistants, AI technology development, and hot gaming news in the Android world. Contact him at [email protected]
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