The Official Google Blog has announced that that Google are being investigated by the U.S. Federal Trade Commission. Google say they received notification of the formal review of their business yesterday and will be working with the FTC to answer questions about their services.
Google say that it’s still unclear what the FTC’s concerns are but go on to emphasise in detail that they put the user first and that their ultimate aim to to return the most relevant information to their customers, both for information and in displaying adverts.
Google do of course dominate the search market and the vast majority of their income is derived from adverts placed alongside those search results. They do of course also own a number of other properties such as images, video (YouTube), News, shopping, and maps and these services also feature in Google search results.
The question has to be asked if Google favour their own services above those of their competitors and is this what the FTC are looking into? Of course the corollary to that question is are Google’s other services what users really want to see and if they are the most relevant results then what’s the problem?