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Google May Alter Search to End FTC Antitrust Inquiry

The Federal Trade Commission is said to be preparing to end its two-year antitrust investigation of Google, with the search engine giant set to apply voluntary changes to its search practices.

According to Politico's sources, the company is apparently readying an announcement about changes to its use of "snippets," which are segments of text stemming from sites such as Yelp and TripAdvisor that are displayed within search results. Yelp and other firms had charged Google with utilizing their content without permission.

The firm has also been the subject of complaints related to the tampering of its search results to lower competitor rankings.

Google is also set to apply tweaks that will allow for more straightforward porting of search-ad campaigns from Google to rival search services.

Politico suggested that the FTC may leave the case to the European Commission, who has commenced an investigation of its own. Reuters, meanwhile, said that, due to a possible defeat, several Google competitors are taking the case to the Justice Department.

The website added that the FTC declined to comment on the purported search tweaks, with Google itself stating: "We continue to work cooperatively with the Federal Trade Commission and are happy to answer any questions they may have."

Google CEO Larry Page had said in October that in many cases it doesn't make sense to direct traffic to a competitor. When users are searching for something, he stressed that they're not particularly looking for "links to other search engines," but solely the product they were initially searching for. "I think you want product information; you want to buy something."


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