back to article Open wide, Google: Here comes an advertising antitrust probe

Ad giant Google is facing an antitrust probe intended to establish whether it exploits its dominance in the advertising trade to steer customers away from rivals' products. According to a Bloomberg report, the US Federal Trade Commission is in the preliminary stages of an investigation, which may not develop into a full-blown …


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  1. Crisp

    Close your mouth Google.

    It's going in the other end.

    1. Steven Roper

      And bite the pillow

      'cause I'm goin' in dry!

      1. Shagbag


    2. BillG
      IT Angle

      Re: Close your mouth Google.

      Open wide.

      1. A country investigates Google

      2. Google spreads around campaign donations to politicians

      3. Investigation ends, Google gets a symbolic slap on the wrist

      4. Step forward one month

      5. Select new country

      6. Goto 1

    3. jnffarrell1

      Re: Close your mouth Google.

      What is the harm in the FTC practicing Proctology without a license. A snip here, a snip there, before you know it Google will be clear for another five years. On the other hand, stonewalling your internist is hazardous to you large intestine. Ask MS what happens when you don't have your s### together at the FTC.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Close your mouth Google.

      They will of course, cough.... cough.... Be found not guilty.

      'Google, sponsors of the Presidential Elections'

  2. Richard Jones 1


    After a recent round of news about how Google were damaging other services I tried a few of them to see what they were about.

    I can only say thank goodness for Google, unless primitive, messy, narrowly focussed and near hopeless result displays tick your box, in which case you may be well served.

    I did not try Bing as MS had turned me off by pushing that one just a bit too hard over the past year or so, though I understand that MS service searches via Bing.when you are using the MS site.I have not always found it a great way to trace information even within MS.

    1. Ragarath

      Re: Competitors?

      Sounds like a Google paid comment to me!

      1. Richard Jones 1

        Re: Competitors?

        Paid for? I wish, unlike some I call it as I find it, often too bluntly for the tastes of others.

        Mind you if someone would like to pay me, perhaps I would consider the offer - but on my, not their terms. Have you ever tried some of the 'competition'?

        I think that there was some talk of competitors in the past, Ya-where-are-they-now, comes to mind, but perhaps I am, wrong about that one.

        I really hate searching only to find results are only links to other search engines that cannot find anything close to what I want.

        1. Paul Shirley

          Re: "only links to other search engines"

          I may be imagining it but the Fairsearch Jihad against Google seems remarkably coincident to Google making progress against the tidal wave of SEO, link farms and those fscking annoying recursive mazes of search engines pointing at search engines.

          I'm 110% convinced Google has materially damaged the business of countless people. But it's a good thing, in the same way the police materially damage the business of criminals.

    2. h3

      Re: Competitors?

      Microsoft services are looking better all the time. supports exchange activesync and has an easy to use web interface (If necessary you can do something very quickly). Gmail has a terrible web ui it works really well over exchange activesync but you cannot use it anymore (And if you do a system refresh on Windows 8 you lose it permanently).

      Codeplex actually lets you download the files for the project. (Feature going to be removed from Google code).

      Google Video was much better than Youtube - just download the file simple no restrictions on length or flash or anything else. (The stuff on it generally was done so it that the sound or picture wasn't totally awful as well).

      Google search is deliberately being made more complicated for the sake of it.

      The features I want are - (pages from the UK - Google Products - Normal search - Google cache and the stuff like in the last x days months years). It has gone from having all that stuff readily available and simple to it all being a pita to use or find.

      (3 results then we think you actually meant some pointless nonsense).

      Google was as good as it needed to be. The way that the default was to find something worldwide then you could make it local if you specifically needed it worked very well.

      1. M Gale

        Re: Competitors?

        "Codeplex actually lets you download the files for the project. (Feature going to be removed from Google code)."

        No. What's going to be removed is the ability to upload 50GB of porn as my-project-v1.0.1.tar.gz and share it to the world. You can still checkout and commit code. Since it's, you know, a code repository.. kinda important.

        Github also have disabled direct file downloads. Don't be surprised if Codeplex goes the same way.

  3. Anonymous Coward

    Utter nonsense.

    If I were an American, I would be most upset that Microsoft were wasting all my tax dollars on this nonsense.

    Here is a simple test. Anyone can do it in two minutes.

    1/ Google for "Maps".

    2/ Bing for "Maps"

    Guess what, Google Maps appears at the top of the list. WHY? BECAUSE IT'S THE MOST RELEVANT RESULT.

    now try:

    1/ Google for "Picture Hosting".

    2/ Bing for "Picture Hosting"

    Google does not return it's own picture hosting (picasa) anywhere on the first page of links. FlickR is there, as is Instagram and ImageShack and TinyPic.

    1. h3

      Re: Utter nonsense.

      Not in the UK - Bing maps are the best they can use the Ordinance Survey data which is by far the best for this country.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        @h3 Re: Utter nonsense.

        What the poster above you said was not"Google Maps is the best mapping solution" but that it was the most relevant result.

        You see, he wasn't using personal opinion, unlike yourself, as to what the best product is. Even OS maps which are very useful for some, might be irrelevant for others.

        But the fact he said it is the most relevant search result is a fact born out by the fact that even Bing lists it as the top organic result. Now relevance might be based on link, ratings, usage, search terms, and a myriad of other factors. However Bing is agreeing with Google that Maps is the most relevant.

        Google is also accepting, via its results, that Picasa is not the most relevant for Picture Hosting.

    2. Gordon Pryra

      Re: Utter nonsense.

      Yes it is utter nonsense.

      People totally forget the reasons for Google's dominance, its very simple. Their organic search is the best of the best.

      And its the best because its neutral. They apply their own guidelines to their own sites. And there have been well documented cases of them reducing their own positions due to various departments in Google not following the rules (Chrome and the Nexus are two big examples of internal pages they have marked down)

      Constantly hearing from idiots like Foundem is pathetic. Why they even have a voice in this discussion escapes me. They were never one of the big comparison sites, their site is terrible. Just standard affiliate nonsense. Someone in this "company" must have a mate on a quango somewhere.

      Rather than create a site that a user would want to find in their search, they would rather get their mate in Govt to force Google to reduce the quality of their search engine.

      1. Richard Jones 1

        Re: Utter nonsense.

        I totally agree, Foundem is more like LostThePlotDearie. No wonder they do not rate highly.

      2. sabroni Silver badge

        Re: Their organic search is the best of the best.

        But their search results have got worse in the past couple of years, especially since they stopped allowing you to specify a really important word with "+". A few years ago they were the best of the best, now they're a poor imitation of themselves.

        (still better than the other search engines I've tried though, though it pains me to say it.)

      3. tom dial Silver badge

        Re: Utter nonsense.

        Second (or third). As a test I looked for 'elitebook' on foundem, google, and bing. Bing and google returned five sponsored links each for purchase of an HP EliteBook at various prices. Bing's first three unsponsored links, in order, were a Wikipedia article, promotion site, and five images. Google's first three unsponsored links were to the promotion site (as in Bing), the HP's generic laptop site, and the Wikipedia article (as with Bing). Foundem returned three links to EliteBook accessories before the first for the product itself - all of them to other foundem pages.

        Clearly a win for Google, with Bing not far behind, and Foundem a rather distant third. I also tried Foundem's link for Bike Gear, and received nothing but a whine about how they had been unable to maintain this and a number of other categories to their "exacting standards" since Google's Panda update in April 2011, over two years ago. It also appeared that the link might really have been for motorbike gear rather than the gear for human powered bicycles in which I would have had some interest. I allow the possibility, however, that that could reflect usage differences between the UK and the US.

        If Foundem were any good, people would use it directly and they would have no need to rant about Google. As it appears to me, they produce less satisfactory results than Google (and Bing) even when accessed from their own home page. Perhaps they should tend to business or fold their tent and slink home.

  4. TiddlyPom

    And its SO HARD to use other services if you want to isn't it!

    What about Bing, Baidu,, DuckDuckGo, Yahoo (and many more I haven't mentioned)! Google does NOT have a monopoly over searching, email, map or cloud services on the web (even if it is a market leader). Compare that with trying to buy a generic PC WITHOUT being forced to buy a copy of Windows (or you could have an Apple Mac if you are prepared to pay 2-3x the price). Just occasionally you can find somewhere that will sell a ChromeBook and I there are a handful of places in the UK that you can still buy a laptop without Windows being preinstalled. Funny how this much more serious monopoly is not being taken apart (across the world) whilst Microsoft attacks Google claiming anti-trust when they have their own search services, email services and cloud services! Why compete by offering decent alternatives when you can compete in the courts to try and prevent other companies competing with you!

    1. Richard Jones 1

      Re: And its SO HARD to use other services if you want to isn't it!

      But competing in courts is the American Way, their lawyers will obviously keep telling them!

    2. The Original Steve

      Re: And its SO HARD to use other services if you want to isn't it!

      Maybe I'm wrong, but I always thought that MS were found to have a monopoly and as a result are under very strict rules and scrutinty. For example the various editions of Windows that come without media player or without other key parts. Another part was to only use the API's in public documentation within MS so they do not have a compeitive advantage. This seems like people would like to ensure Google do not have an unfair competitive advantage by having insider knowledge of the search algorithms / ways to improve the results of their other services. If all internal units as well as 3rd parties use the same guidelines then that's fair - this is what others are saying is not happening and therefore it's an unfair use of their position in the market.

  5. Anal Leakage

    And besides, we all know that Google is incapable of malfeasance in perpetuity.

  6. nuked

    "Ad giant Google is facing an antitrust probe intended to establish whether it exploits its dominance in the advertising trade to steer customers away from rivals' products."

    Save yourselves some time and a lot of money.

    They did. And I don't necessarily have a big problem with it.

  7. David 164

    The FTC are much more likely to succeed at prosecuting Google Doubleclick for antitrust violations than Google search business, it a much simpler case , as Google will not have the 1st amendment defence that it would have use if it search business was attacked in America, or the FTC prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Google search results are bias and manipulated to support Google Business.

  8. Mitoo Bobsworth

    'Google ave also faced down attacks in other countries'

    'ave they now? Sounds like they're in right barney, dunnit?

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