Google Chairman grilled by US Senators over search

Is Google's search business so big that the company tries to use its influence to crush its rivals in other businesses? That was the question that US Senators wanted an answer to from Google's Executive Chairman and former CEO Eric Schmidt. Reuters reports that Schmidt was in Washington DC on Wednesday to be grilled by members of the Senate Judiciary Committee's antitrust panel. The committee is examining if Google's position as the number one provider of search on the Internet has caused the company to engage in anti-competitive practices.

One charge leveled by some people against Google is that the company actually manipulates its search results to point to Google's own products. An example was given during the hearing where Google's shopping service always came up third when shopping keywords are typed into Google. Republican Senator Mike Lee told Schmidt, "I see you magically coming up third every time. I don't know whether you call this a separate algorithm or whether you've reverse engineered one algorithm, but either way you've cooked it, so that you're always third." Schmidt flat out denied that accusation, saying, "Senator, may I simply say that I can assure you we've not cooked anything."

In fact Schmidt testified that Google actually has a lot of competition in a number of areas including restaurants and shopping reviews. But that's not how some of its rivals see it. Jeffrey Katz, the CEO of the shopping comparison web site Nextag, offered a written testimony for the hearing where he said, "Google doesn't play fair. Google rigs its results, biasing in favor of Google Shopping and against competitors like us."

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Wait, I'm confused..... If you have the most popular flower shop (brick and mortar) and you also sell greeting cards is it now illegal to advertise that you also sell greeting cards at your flower shop?

Google and its share holders own google.com, is it illegal for them to advertise on google.com that they have an email service also when someone searches for email?

With this logic Microsoft should not be able to show Bing in a Windows advert.

I can't honestly say that I think Google is guilty of being anti-competitive, but at the same time it's not as simple as it's often presented by either side.

Google is in a similar position as Microsoft, years ago. Microsoft sold both the dominant PC platform and a host of applications based on that platform. They could (and apparently did) do many things to prioritize the functionality and performance of their own applications on their own platform over those of comparable competitors. Other options existed for OS and for applications, but the deck could be stacked in their favor.

Google ... not altogether different. They own the dominant search platform and have the ability to present their own applications/solution over those of competitors. Those competitors have fewer options for drawing the same attention to their products, because Google is also the dominant means of reaching the intended audience.

If Microsoft had only ever sold Windows, if Google had only ever owned search, perhaps we wouldn't have these situations. But when one company owns the means by which your product runs/is discovered, and also sells/gives away competing products, then they also have an implied obligation to behave responsibly. To do otherwise can be anti-competitive.

So the Senators are effectively saying, "Google stop advertising for your own company" If worked at Walmart and I was at the register telling people where to get the same products cheaper, I would fully expect to be fired. If I was a customer at Walmart and asked where I could get something the cheapest, I would expect to here an isle number, not them advertising another store.

1) who cares? it's their product, they should be able to do what they want

2) don't senators have better things to do?

no-sweat said,
1) who cares? it's their product, they should be able to do what they want

2) don't senators have better things to do?

1) do anything no
promote their service which is mostly search service for specific things don't care
anyway people have the choice and freedom to use something else
Android is popular today because you can customize everything and everyone can integrate their service natively. And that's also the case for many other services from Google.

2) yeah but they would need more bed

M_Lyons10 said,
They are CLEARLY anticompetitive... I hope something comes of this.

clearly? Please Mr Senate, show me where they are clearly at fault

Done a search for "shopping" and Google shopping doesn't even feature on the first page. So I guessed they mean searching for a specific product, so I've searched for a game or two, and the only Google shopping result I get is the usual "shopping results for" thing at the top.

Any idea what they are referring to?

Fourjays said,
Done a search for "shopping" and Google shopping doesn't even feature on the first page. So I guessed they mean searching for a specific product, so I've searched for a game or two, and the only Google shopping result I get is the usual "shopping results for" thing at the top.

Any idea what they are referring to?

UK doesnt have full support for google shopping yet unlike the US.

Fourjays said,
Done a search for "shopping" and Google shopping doesn't even feature on the first page. So I guessed they mean searching for a specific product, so I've searched for a game or two, and the only Google shopping result I get is the usual "shopping results for" thing at the top.

Any idea what they are referring to?


In the US, Google isnt listed high up enough for me to feel the need to go searching for it.