Member log in

Google agrees to change search practices

Google has survived a lengthy anti-trust investigation and in a settlement has agreed to give online advertisers more flexibility to manage ad campaigns with rival websites,

The US Federal Trade Commission (FTC), which conducted the investigation, says it will not be laying any major charges against Google and instead has accepted its offer to make voluntary changes to its search practices.

The FTC says Google has also agreed to take steps to refrain from "misappropriating" online content from rivals.

In a related matter, Google has agreed to a settlement resolving FTC charges that the company was stifling competition by misusing key mobile-device patents it acquired when it bought handset maker Motorola Mobility.

In the patent settlement, Google agrees it will grant fair and reasonable licences to mobile-device competitors whose products use essential wireless technologies that are covered by Google's patents.

The settlement also requires that Google not use its key patents to seek court injunctions that will block the sale of competitor products.

The FTC has spent the better part of two years examining whether Google abused its dominant position in internet search to favour its own products and services at the expense of competitors.

Observers say the settlement is likely to come as a significant disappointment to Microsoft and other technology firms that pushed the FTC to bring a broad antitrust case against Google.

The commentators also note the outcome is similar in scope to the landmark case the US Justice Department brought against Microsoft in the 1990s.

Comments and questions

Google is no longer just a search company but is using the search engine to place its own services above its competitors', giving it an unfair advantage. Google's monopoly of the internet must be regulated.

This shows how very much Google has changed in the last 10 years. I, for one, no longer trust them as I did; when I can do without them, I avoid them now.