Google was finally able to breathe a sigh of relief as the Federal Trade Commission closed its long-standing investigation on the Internet search giant. The company agreed to change some of their business practices, avoiding a potentially long and financially draining anti-trust case as well as financial penalties. The investigation was launched in June 2011.
What Google did agree to in the settlement was to make it easier for small businesses to advertise on competing search engines instead of continually losing out to the company itself. They agreed to cut back on patent wars that exist between them and their rivals in the mobile phone sector. Also, Google agreed to stop copying original content that comes from other websites unless they have permission from the owner. These steps were the most efficient ways to resolve the pending issues while providing closure for users.Of course, Google has walked away relatively pleased with the outcome, even though they will have changes to make. One of the biggest arguments during the investigation was that the technology company favors its own services in the search results. When shopping for red winter boots for example, it’s Google Shopping that comes up in the right-hand corner. Well, they don’t call the company “The Search Giant” for nothing.
Some people have criticized the FTC for giving the search company a ‘slap on the wrist.’ What may come as an even greater surprise is that in the settlement, there will be no changes to Google’s search engine practices. Although many accuse the technology company for “search bias” – configuring the algorithms to favor their own products – these suggestions stand little ground. The FTC states that updates to the algorithms could have been designed to enhance the user experience and not favor specific products.
Now that the investigation is closed, it will be easier for other companies to license patented technology, and companies can now edit or remove online content, which are two giant steps forward. However, other countries can still pursue their own case against the company, even if they don’t have the support of the FTC.