FTC Preparing to Subpoena Google over Abuse of Power?

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Is Google too big for the U.S. Government? That might explain why the company is rumored to be facing subpoenas concerning abuse of its position in web-search advertising.

The Wall Street Journal quotes the traditional “people familiar with the matter,” and explains that “issues in the FTC probe are expected to include whether Google searches unfairly steer users to the company’s own growing network of services at the expense of rival providers.”

(MORE: Microsoft Calls Google Antitrust, Google ‘Not Surprised’)

The FTC is apparently looking into competitor claims that Google’s anticompetitive practices manipulate search results and reuse other people’s content without permission.

This isn’t a first for Google, which found itself under investigation in Europe for essentially the same thing at the end of last year, prompting a blog post by two Vice Presidents (SVP Susan Wojcicki and VP Udi Manber) where they claimed such suspicions were “entirely understandable” and went on to defend the company somewhat facetiously by saying that Google was built for users, not websites.

“It may seem obvious, but people sometimes forget this — not every website can come out on top, or even appear on the first page of our results, so there will almost always be website owners who are unhappy about their rankings,” they wrote.

According to the WSJ, the investigation is expected to take more than a year, and follows up on informal inquiries into the company over the last several months.

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