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Senate Seeks Answers From Google About Business Practices

July 29, 2011

Congress has questions, so it will do what everyone else does, it will look to Google for answers and go straight to the top for them.

Eric Schmidt, Google’s chairman and former longtime CEO, will testify before Congress on September 21 about the company’s business practices, setting up what will likely be one of the most crucial Capitol Hill showdowns in Google’s history, CNET is reporting.

The global leader in search engine advertising is in the midst of an antitrust probe by the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) following accusations that it abused its market dominance. The FTC is expected to look into complaints from Google’s rivals that its search results favor the company’s own services, among other concerns.

Schmidt has promised that Google would cooperate fully with US antitrust regulators. This, after a snub by Google in February, when members of another Senate Judiciary subcommittee investigating online practices were miffed when Google did not appear before them.

Earlier this year, Google lawyer Kent Walker faced tough questions about accusations that the search company profited from online piracy and lawmakers have also raised concerns about Google’s privacy practices, notably the company’s collection of wifi data from its Street View cars.

Many market watchers believe Google will strike a settlement with the FTC to avoid the distraction and business risk that would come with a prolonged congressional scrutiny, Reuters reports.

Google controls more than two-thirds of the global search market. However, an ever-changing web of technologies, such as social networking, smartphone applications and location-based services, offer new ways for people to find information online, putting pressure on Google to find new ways to stay on top.

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