Feds Clear Google of Search Bias

Company will make some voluntary changes to its practices
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 3, 2013 1:19 PM CST
Google Settles FTC Antitrust Probe
In this Thursday, April 12, 2012, photo, a Google logo is displayed at the headquarters in Mountain View, Calif.   (AP Photo/Paul Sakuma, File)

(Newser) – Google is resolving the FTC's antitrust probe into its business practices today after 19 months, the AP reports. As part of the settlement, Google will voluntarily license patents deemed "essential" to its rivals in the mobile phone industry, including Apple, Research in Motion, and Microsoft. The investigation was centered on allegations that Google was abusing its Internet search dominance, and the company also agreed to remove content from other websites in its search results upon request.

Google had already scaled back that practice, known as "scraping," even though it says it's legal under copyright law's fair-use provisions. The FTC said today that antitrust regulators found no evidence that Google gives itself an unfair edge in search results; rivals had accused it of highlighting its own services while burying links to others. Bloomberg calls the settlement "a blow to competitors," and the New York Times calls it a "victory for Google." (Read more Google stories.)

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