Google vowed to continue following the web scraping guidelines agreed as part of its 2012 settlement with the United States Federal Trade Commission even as the limits imposed on the company are now coming to an end, the tech giant revealed in a recent letter addressed to the regulator. The Alphabet-owned Internet giant suggested it changed its ways since Yelp hit it with an antitrust lawsuit over its online crawlers that displayed some of the website's content as part of Google's own services, robbing it of traffic in the process of doing so. Today, Google's official stance is that allowing websites to opt out of its content scraping programs provides additional "flexibility" to both developers and publishers, which is why the company is adamant to keep maintaining such policies going forward even though it isn't legally required to do so anymore.
The company's move is largely unsurprising seeing how a return to its previous practices would likely just lead to identical antitrust lawsuits which Google would have an even harder time of defending against given its 2012 settlement that set a major precedent on the matter. The issue of its web scraping activities may still not be over, with Yelp filing an official complaint with the FTC in September which claimed Google already broke the settlement agreement and scraped some of the company's images which it ended up displaying in its Image Search results over the course of this year. The allegation still didn't amount to anything and it's currently unclear whether it's being actively investigated by the federal agency.