The FTC’s missed opportunity on Google

“For almost two years, the U.S. Federal Trade Commission has been investigating allegations that Google Inc. unfairly dominates the Internet search market. The consumer agency ended the case today without bringing charges over the main issue — whether Google favors its own products in search results and, consequently, stifles competition,” Bloomberg News editorial board writes.

“The FTC missed an opportunity to explore publicly one of the paramount questions of our day: Is Google abusing its role as gatekeeper to the digital economy?” Bloomberg writes. “Lawmakers, economists, other regulators and consumers should all be in on this important debate over whether Google is leveraging its overwhelming dominance of search into unassailable market power in other areas.”

Bloomberg writes, “There is some evidence it is. When a consumer looks for flights on Google, the search engine first provides a short list of airfares offered by Google’s advertisers. Next comes a “Google flight search” box listing the major carriers and their prices. Only after that do online travel services, including Expedia, Kayak and TripAdvisor, appear. They often provide less expensive fares, yet require more time filtering through numerous options.”

Bloomberg writes, “Ask yourself this simple question: Am I harmed when rival services, whether for product comparisons, hotel bookings, airfares, restaurant reviews or maps, go out of business because they can’t compete with Google? We suspect the answer is yes.”

Read more in the full article here.


  1. This is so funny…. Really.

    Does anyone here remember the time before Google? Search engines would put paid listers up front and then somewhere down the list, actual search results.

    Google came out with a search engine that only listed results by their relevance to the search, then they added paid results on the right side so you could clearly see the two, depending on what you wanted.

    Now Google puts its own or paid search up front and what you want comes somewhere down the line. Exactly the kind of result that led to them being the leader of other people that did just what they are doing now.

    Steve Jobs said it best. When trying to make the most money as your first objective, you focus on the wrong thing. Make the absolute best product that you can (a better mousetrap) and the world will come to you.

    Apple has proven this to be the case. Insanely great products.

    Just a thought on this first friday of the new year.

    Happy New Year Wishes to you all………..well…………… there are a few of you that should just “lurk” but……. you know what I mean. LOL


    1. Google continues to do it because it is spectacularly successful for them.

      I suspect that Google’s constant drip, drip changes are designed so that nobody is stirred enough to fly the coop – but have you tried Bing lately? – the results are so much better. And I can’t believe I just said something positive about a Microsoft product…

      Google is a habit for most people – that’s the only explanation I can see for why people continue to use such a frustratingly bad product.

  2. I’ve done some searches in recent weeks (using Startpage, which is powered by Google but doesn’t record your IP address) and found YouTube results listed before the home page of what I was searching for. Pretty suspicious, I reckon.

  3. Google is no longer a nice search engine as it started out to be – period. It is now a marketing tool pure and simple. Unfortunately there are no pure search engines any longer – all are tainted by the monetary incentive. This is what happens when things are free – somehow they have to be paid for. How many people are willing to pay for a search engine that does what you want and search results are not driven by some else’s monetary incentives? I see one hand in the back of the room. There is the problem, pure and simple.

  4. 95% of Google’s revenue comes from advertising. They spent $25 million to lobby the government to maintain that business during the time they were being investigated by the FTC – more than any other tech company by an order of magnitude.

    Put these 2 things together and the limp wrist slap is not at all surprising.

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