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Google confirms FTC probe, defends its practices

Written by James Delahunty (Google+) @ 25 Jun 2011 10:17

Google confirms FTC probe, defends its practices Search giant says it will cooperate with FTC investigation.
Google revealed on its official blog that it received formal notification from the U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) that it has begun a review of its core businesses. "We respect the FTC's process and will be working with them (as we have with other agencies) over the coming months to answer questions about Google and our services," the blog entry stated.

Google states that while it is unclear what the FTC's primary concerns are at this time, the company is confident about where it stands. It goes into detail about how Google has always believed that if it focuses on the user, then all else will follow.

With that principal in mind, Google says it aims to help its users find relevant information quickly, and for free, knowing that the competition is just a click away at all times. "In just 13 years we’ve built a model that has changed the way people find answers and helped businesses both large and small create jobs and connect with new customers," it states.

Google says that while it will cooperate with the FTC to alleviate any anti-trust concerns, it will follow the core principles that have guided it from the beginning, which it states are...
  • 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."
  • Be transparent. "We share more information about how our rankings work than any other search engine, through our Webmaster Central site, blog, diagnostic tools, support forum, and YouTube. We also give advertisers detailed information about the ad auction and tips to improve their ad quality scores. We've recently introduced even more transparency tools, announcing a major change to our algorithm, providing more notice when a website is demoted due to spam violations, and giving advertisers new information about ads that break our rules."
  • 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."
The blog entry says that Google knows its principles will stand up to scrutiny in this and any other probe.

Tags: Google
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