Senate antitrust panel to focus on Google and its search rankings

A Senate antitrust panel is planning to scrutinize Google to make sure it treats other companies fairly in its search rankings and in its advertising business.

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Senate Judiciary Antitrust subcommittee Chairman Herb Kohl (D-Wis.) said in a document released Thursday that competition in the online search market will be a focal point for his panel.

"In recent years, the dominance over Internet search of the world’s largest search engine, Google, has increased and Google has increasingly sought to acquire e-commerce sites in myriad businesses," Kohl's agenda says.

"In this regard, we will closely examine allegations raised by e-commerce websites that compete with Google that they are being treated unfairly in search ranking, and in their ability to purchase search advertising."

The document said this oversight is crucial as the Internet becomes an increasingly important to the economy. 

It noted that the the subcommittee will strive to ensure that this sector "remains competitive, that Internet search is fair to its users and customers, advertisers have sufficient choices, and that consumers’ privacy is guarded."