Google CEO Larry Page met with FTC officials in Washington on Tuesday, according to a report from Bloomberg. As previously reported, the FTC is close to closing its antitrust investigation into Google and recently gave Google a matter of days to come up with a proposal, though according to an earlier report from Bloomberg, the FTC didn’t seem to have much confidence that it has a case against Google in terms of the way Google presents results from its own products.
Sara Forden, Jeff Bliss & Brian Womack report:
Google has been engaged in settlement talks with the FTC for about a week, including an effort to define whether there’s a market where Google has a monopoly, one of the people said. The Mountain View, California-based company, operator of the world’s most popular search engine, is concerned that entering a formal settlement agreement with the agency may hurt its business prospects, the people said.
Google competitors are still complaining about Google’s choice of providing its own results. At a Business Insider conference today, Yelp CEO Jeremy Stoppelman said that Google has some “evil” business practices, according to a report from CNET. Shara Tibken reports:
Stoppelman said that any disruptive businesses, like Uber and Airbnb, are guaranteed backlash, and government and business entities shouldn’t necessarily be allowed to limit those businesses. However, Google’s practices are likely “worth taking a look at,” he said.
“If you happen to be the gateway for the vast majority of users on the Internet and you restrict information and put your house property ahead of everyone else, you potentially harm consumers,” Stoppelman said. “We can all agree that’s probably not a good thing.”
Well, we can probably all agree that harm to consumers is not a good thing, but I’m not sure there’s as much agreement as to whether or not Google’s practices are actually harming consumers. Last time I checked, it’s still rather easy to enter Yelp.com into a web browser’s address bar if one wants to see Yelp reviews. In fact, I’m pretty sure that most modern browsers enable you to set Yelp.com as your homepage if you want that to be your gateway to the Internet. I’m quite certain that Google even provides a wonderful gateway to Yelp.com should a user search for Yelp or Yelp reviews.
Does going to Google.com and seeing reviews from Google hurt consumers more than going to Yelp.com and seeing reviews from Yelp?