Google admits FTC probe, defends its search practices

Google acknowledged the Federal Trade Commission has begun a review of its business and defended its search practices in a blog post published Friday.

The post from Google Fellow Amit Singhal confirms earlier reports the FTC plans to investigate the firm, reportedly for using its dominance of the search market to drive traffic to its other products and services.

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"It’s still unclear exactly what the FTC’s concerns are, but we’re clear about where we stand," Singhal said.

"Using Google is a choice—and there are lots of other choices available to you for getting information: other general-interest search engines, specialized search engines, direct navigation to websites, mobile applications, social networks, and more."

Singhal said a few key principles have guided Google's search results from the beginning: do what's best for the user, provide the most relevant answers as quickly as possible, be transparent, label ads clearly and rely on users' loyalty, not locking them in.

"These are the principles that guide us, and we know they’ll stand up to scrutiny," Singhal added. "We’re committed to giving you choices, ensuring that businesses can grow and create jobs, and, ultimately, fostering an Internet that benefits us all."

Google has previously faced antitrust scrutiny related to its acquisitions in various sectors, but this is the first broad probe of the firm's core search business. Critics have complained Google manipulates its search results to benefit its products and punish competitors.