Gobble Gobble Google: Papers Highlight Concern About Google's Growth and Regulators' Ability to Protect Consumers and Competition
FairSearch.org was formed out of concern that Google’s proposed purchase of ITA Software would limit competition and innovation in online travel that benefits consumers. Today, two major U.S. news outlets cite others echoing those concerns.
The Wall Street Journal’s Amir Efrati reports complaints that Google is “displaying links to its own services—such as local-business information or its Google Health service—above the links to other, non-Google content found by its search engine.” Critics include Yelp Inc. CEO Jeremy Stoppelman, who says Google “is trying to leverage its distribution power”—the search engine—”to take an inferior product and put it in front of the user.” The article also quotes executives from travel site (and FairSearch.org member) TripAdvisor.com, health site WebMD.com and local-business reviews site Citysearch.com.
The Washington Post’s Jia Lynn Yang explores how Google’s growth has “become a bigger puzzle for regulators.” The reason? “Antitrust law was crafted with bricks-and-mortar companies in mind, companies whose business lines fit into neat categories, not a firm like Google whose influence is spreading lightning-quick into different markets that are connected only by the Internet.” The article focuses specifically on the proposed ITA deal, citing concerns that Google “could manipulate the results from its search engine to give its travel service a higher ranking than its competitors’” and also “hamper, or even cut off, [competitors’] access to ITA’s technology.”
For those who still don’t get the picture, the Washington Post’s Express offers this helpful graphic: