“Google chairman Eric Schmidt defended the company’s business practices before a panel of senators Wednesday as the lawmakers lobbed questions on search rankings and Google’s search algorithm,” Hayley Tsukayama reports for The Washington Post.
“It was the executive’s first time speaking on the Hill, as Google has drawn scrutiny from antitrust officials who are investigating whether the search engine giant is abusing its power.In particular, questions are being raised about whether Google has, in effect, a monopoly in the search market,” Tsukayama reports. “During the hearing before the Senate Judiciary antitrust subcommittee, Schmidt stressed that Google will cooperate with the Federal Trade Commission, which is investigating the company’s practices. He said that everything the company has done so far is legal and good for its customers.”
Tsukayama reports, “The company does, however, control its own search rankings, which were a key issue in the hearing. Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) questioned whether the company was ‘cooking the results’ to ensure that Google-related results appeared consistently in product searches. ‘Senator, I can assure you we have not cooked anything,’ Schmidt said.”
“‘Google’s growth and success is another reason why we need to pay attention to what you’re doing,’ said Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.), who expressed frustration when Schmidt did not directly answer whether Google’s rankings used an unbiased algorithm when providing search results,” Tsukayama reports. “Schmidt said that he believed they do, but that did not satisfy Franken… Lee said that some of his fears about the company had been confirmed by the hearing and that he hopes Google will take “swift action to resolve these concerns.”
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