22 Jan 2013

Google Emerges Unscathed from Search Bias Investigation

googleAfter nearly two years of investigation by the US Federal Trade Commission, search engine giant Google has emerged with a clear reputation, and a clean bill of health.

At a press conference announcing the results, FTC Director Jon Liebowitz said “We have exhaustively investigated whether [Google] uses search bias to push its own products higher and rivals' down the search results. The commission has voted to close this investigation. Although some evidence suggested it was trying to remove the competition, the primary reason was to improve user experience.”

The investigation started when rivals like Microsoft stated that Google promoted its own services over equal, or better qualified competitors.

In a statement responding to the results, David Drummond, Senior Vice President and Chief Legal officer for Google said they were prepared to voluntarily implement several changes which the FTC had laid out for them, adding “As we made clear when the FTC started its investigation, we've always been open to improvements that would create a better experience.”

Though these changes were voluntary, a spokesperson from the FTC made it clear they wouldn't have closed their investigation if they weren't made. Aside from these changes though, Google seems pleased with the result of the investigation.

“We've always accepted that with success comes regulatory scrutiny,” said Drummond in the same statement. “But we're pleased that the FTC and the other authorities that have looked at Google's Business practices – including the US Department of Justice, the US courts, and the Brazilian courts—have concluded that we should be free to combine direct answers with Web results. So we head into 2013 excited about our ability to innovate for the benefit of users everywhere.”

Leibowitz though, said that the FTC found that Google did take part in “unfair conduct” by continuing to sue competitors over patents on mobile device technology Google acquired when they purchased Motorola in 2012.

Basically, the agreement Google and the FTC reached on this count was that Google cannot block other companies – including Apple – using important Motorola patents, but can still charge those competitors a hefty fee for their use.

Though there is a fine if Google breaks any part of this agreement, the penalty – up to $16,000 a day – seems paltry for a company that made over $14 billion in the 3rd quarter of 2012 alone.

Both the FTC and Google consider the arrangement a win, but Google certainly seems to have gotten the better end of the deal, and aren't shy about showing it.

“The conclusion is clear,” said Drummond in a blog post, “Google's services are good for users and good for competition.

All this just makes it clear that you need to play to Google's search strengths if you want to increase web traffic to your site. Google is constantly changing their ranking algorithms, here at Cybermark International, it's our job to stay on top of things and keep your site where it should be – at the top of search engine lists. Check out or website at www.Cybermarkintl.com for more information about how we can help you get to the top, and stay there.