Google to FTC: These 5 Principles Will Stand Up To Your Scrutiny

Google not sure what the FTC is so concerned about

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Google to FTC: These 5 Principles Will Stand Up To Your Scrutiny
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“These are the principles that guide us, and we know they’ll stand up to scrutiny,” Google said today in a post to the Official Google Blog, in response to scrutiny from the U.S. Federal Trade Commission.

So it’s official now. Google says it has received formal notification from the FTC that it has begun its review. Those principles Google (or more specifically, Google Fellow Amit Singal) mentioned, are outlined as follows:

  • Do what’s best for the user. We make hundreds of changes to our algorithms every year to improve your search experience. Not every website can come out at the top of the page, or even appear on the first page of our search results.
  • Provide the most relevant answers as quickly as possible. Today, when you type “weather in Chicago” or “how many feet in a mile” into our search box, you get the answers directly—often before you hit “enter”. And we’re always trying to figure out new ways to answer even more complicated questions just as clearly and quickly. Advertisements offer useful information, too, which is why we also work hard to ensure that our ads are relevant to you.
  • Label advertisements clearly. Google always distinguishes advertisements from our organic search results. As we experiment with new ad formats and new types of content, we will continue to be transparent about what is an ad and what isn’t.
  • Loyalty, not lock-in. We firmly believe you control your data, so we have a team of engineers whose only goal is to help you take your information with you. We want you to stay with us because we’re innovating and making our products better—not because you’re locked in.

Supporting choice, ensuring economic opportunity: http://t.co/Kk1w2kb 2 hours ago via web · powered by @socialditto

“It’s still unclear exactly what the FTC’s concerns are, but we’re clear about where we stand,” Singhal says. He also sprinkled in a bit at the end about Google “ensuring that businesses can grow and create jobs.”

Will Google’s principles stand up to scrutiny? Time will tell. It’s expected to be a lengthy process. What do you think?

Google to FTC: These 5 Principles Will Stand Up To Your Scrutiny
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  • LOL

    What a load of BS. It confirms that Google is out of touch with reality and needs to be punished heavily so they wake up from that fantasy land they live in. The guys at the FTC must be laughing their tail off after reading the “Do what’s best for the user” crap. Do what’s best for the user in their fantasy land is inserting their own properties at the top because they are more relevant due to their unfair inside knowledge of their ranking algo. Google should not be allowed to promote their other anywhere else but through Adwords. Google has to be broken up to make it more fair as if they have inside knowledge of the ranking algo. I hope the FTC break their legs.

  • http://thewebsensesolution.com Jon

    It’s sad times when the US economy is so incredibly bad the government has to resort to creative fundraising (such as steep fines that will inevitably follow the review)…

  • Jack

    It’s not that I believe Google is evil. What I believe is that Google, Inc. is at a fork in the road, and they have some big decisions to make. Here are a few points I like to raise in connection with this Google’s privacy issues:

    Google’s immortal cookie:

    Google was the first search engine to use a cookie that expires in 2038. This was at a time when federal websites were prohibited from using persistent cookies altogether. Now it’s years later, and immortal cookies are common place among search engines; Google set the standard because no one bothered to challenge them. This cookie places a unique ID number on your hard disk. Anytime you land on a Google page, you get a Google cookie if you don’t already have one. If you have one, they read and record your unique ID number.

    Google records everything they can:

    For all searches they record the cookie ID, your Internet IP address, the time and date, your search terms, and your browser configuration. Increasingly, Google is customizing results based on your IP number. This is referred to in the industry as “IP delivery based on geolocation.”

    Google retains all data indefinitely:

    Google has no data retention policies. There is evidence that they are able to easily access all the user information they collect and save.

    Google won’t say why they need this data:

    Inquiries to Google about their privacy policies are ignored. When the New York Times (2002-11-28) asked Sergey Brin about whether Google ever gets subpoenaed for this information, he had no comment.

    Google hires spooks:

    Keyhole, Inc. was supported with funds from the CIA. They developed a database of spy-in-the-sky images from all over the world. Google acquired Keyhole in 2004, and would like to hire more people with security clearances, so that they can peddle their corporate assets to the spooks in Washington.

    Google’s toolbar is spyware:

    With the advanced features enabled, Google’s free toolbar for Explorer phones home with every page you surf, and yes, it reads your cookie too. Their privacy policy confesses this, but that’s only because Alexa lost a class-action lawsuit when their toolbar did the same thing, and their privacy policy failed to explain this. Worse yet, Google’s toolbar updates to new versions quietly, and without asking. This means that if you have the toolbar installed, Google essentially has complete access to your hard disk every time you connect to Google (which is many times a day). Most software vendors, and even Microsoft, ask if you’d like an updated version. But not Google. Any software that updates automatically presents a massive security risk.

    Google’s cache copy is illegal:

    Judging from Ninth Circuit precedent on the application of U.S. copyright laws to the Internet, Google’s cache copy appears to be illegal. The only way a webmaster can avoid having his site cached on Google is to put a “noarchive” meta in the header of every page on his site. Surfers like the cache, but webmasters don’t. Many webmasters have deleted questionable material from their sites, only to discover later that the problem pages live merrily on in Google’s cache. The cache copy should be “opt-in” for webmasters, not “opt-out.”

  • http://www.gasta.co.uk Francis Higgins

    Google bans its competition by removing them from its index, witholds revenues from search advertising partners,despite being the biggest purveyor of Pornography the world has ever seen.

  • kendo

    The internet was designed to be open and not controlled by anyone, except Google has created the opportunity to control it and milk it for what it’s worth, in every way that it can. It’s time that an example is made to deter others.

  • WhatThe

    The FTC needs to investigate the mad out of control spending of the Federal government, instead of oppressing Google, because they are making an honest profit.

  • johnny-b-good

    I think Google has gotten greedy and is on the verge of EPIC FAIL status.
    Of interest to the FTC should be the correlation between Google’s authority sites and Google’s big spending advertisers.
    (In my opinion) A few years ago it was possible to produce a decent site for the hospitality industry and get it ranked well enough to create traffic. The bulk of the traffic came from maps (which is now Places). It now appears that the authority sites for Google Places are the same sites that appear in the CPC advertising (check the three, seven pack etc of any area you are interested in).
    The end results
    (1) Users being offered less variety
    (2) Users being directed to Hotels who have allocation blocked by the big CPC buyers
    (3) Users paying (a hidden) X% of the total of the purchase to a CPC buyer
    (4) Google gets it’s CPC money

    The (hidden)X% paid by the user to the CPC buyers has to be passed on as a cost by the hotel.

    Winners and Losers.
    Losers – Users who end up being presented less variety and eventually paying higher prices
    Winners – Google with their CPC revenue and high spending CPC booking sites.

    “Do what is best for the user” – don’t make me laugh.
    “Do what is best for Google and it’s share holders” – I can believe it

  • Adsense Publisher

    The Panda updates were Google showing us that they know how to force websites to advertise or die. It’s not about quality as Google’s results as less organic and more marketed to the public. They’re using methods that before Google itself would label as bad and deceptive not so long ago.

    • Michael

      This I would have to disagree with. I have the top site in Google for our “niche”. We have no adds and as a webmaster, never will. If your speaking of PPC, 3 years of that at $12+k a year and at least 40% of that being click fraud. I got busy learning SEO. I had many offers from companies claiming they could help. I always believed who cares about our site more than us? Nobody! BTW, our niche in Dallas/Fort Worth is full of black hat SEO and a ton of sleazy companies using it. They still rank.;)I hate it, never used it but Google does nothing about it. this is my biggest complaint towards Google, Bing as well and Bing2 being Yahoo.

  • http://www.leisurecom.com Shay

    The FTC should pull their head in. I dont want a thousand search engines – I want 1 good one. Also, what if Google wasnt a US company??

  • KamakshiSri

    Those who have complains regarding google ad revenue may get a better vision of it here. I was just reading this blog. His points are worth noting. Here is the url:

  • http://www.ernestodell.com/ Ernest O’Dell

    Don’t take no guff off the Feds. Tell ’em to kiss your ass!

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