investigation Stories April 1, 2015

File photo shows people walking by a YouTube sign at the new Google office in Toronto

According to a report from The Wall Street Journal, the European Commission is preparing to file antitrust charges against Google. The charges come after a five-year long investigation that’s stalled three times and caused strong political divides in Europe.

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investigation Stories March 27, 2015

GOOG FTC

Google is no stranger to publicly responding to News Corp after the media company issued a letter last year claiming Google was engaged in unfair business practices, and today Google is once again slamming News Corp for what it’s calling inaccuracies in a recent article about the company.

In a blog post on its Public Policy blog, Google’s SVP Communications and Policy Rachel Whetstone takes apart a recent article in The Wall Street Journal profiling Google’s antitrust probe by the FTC and provides counterpoints to what she says are inaccuracies in the report: expand full story

investigation Stories March 19, 2015

google-shop

The Wall Street Journal today published a report highlighting an investigation done by the Federal Trade Commission that began in early 2013. The investigation centered around how Google skewed search results in an effort to promote its own services over competitors. Google, according to the FTC report, was accused of boosting its services for shopping, travel, and local businesses.

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investigation Stories September 23, 2013

Google-Play-reviews

The New York Times reports that New York regulators will today announce a new initiative that aims to crackdown on fake reviews online. They’ve already reached settlement agreements with a number of companies and issued fines of around $350,000 to companies purchasing and providing fake reviews, many of which are submitted to services such as Google, Yahoo, and Yelp. Fake reviews have always been an issue for Google Play and just about every mobile app marketplace, so perhaps regulators will soon extend their investigation to mobile app stores as well.

“What we’ve found is even worse than old-fashioned false advertising,” said Eric T. Schneiderman, the New York attorney general. “When you look at a billboard, you can tell it’s a paid advertisement — but on Yelp or Citysearch, you assume you’re reading authentic consumer opinions, making this practice even more deceiving.”

Regulators found that US Coachways, one of the companies included in the investigation, had hired freelance writers to write fake reviews on Yelp and other services: expand full story

investigation Stories June 14, 2013

Google

According to a new report out of the Financial Times, Google is being investigated by European officials due to allegations that it has anti-competitive deals set up with select smartphone manufacturers. This isn’t the first time Google has run into trouble with the EU, as the company has been investigated for antitrust issues in the past.

Microsoft and Nokia made these allegations and claim that Google is forcing Android manufacturers to delay the launch of devices running their two operating systems. The European Union is also looking into claims that Google requires manufacturers to preload its services on their devices. expand full story

investigation Stories April 25, 2013

32-b5d6bbdc04Earlier this month we heard that Google had handed in a formal offer of concessions to the  European Union Competition Commissioner in the ongoing antirust investigation into whether some of Google’s practices with its search and ad businesses create unfair competition and abuse the company’s dominance. At the time we didn’t get to see what the settlement proposal actually included, but today the commission issued a press release asking for feedback on the proposed commitments and detailing some of the proposals Google submitted:

Google has made proposals to try to address the Commission’s four competition concerns. Interested parties can now submit their comments within one month. The Commission will take them into account in its analysis of Google’s commitment proposals. If the Commission concludes that they address its four competition concerns, it may decide to make them legally binding on Google.

Among the most interesting commitments submitted by Google: For 5 years Google has agreed to “label promoted links to its own specialised search services”, as well as allow websites the ability to opt out from having specific pieces of content indexed by Google. Google would also no longer require publishers to utilize online search advertisements through sourced only through it.

A breakdown of Google’s proposals is below and the full version of its commitments can be found on the DG Competition’s website hereexpand full story

investigation Stories April 11, 2013

Google-Maps-Search-results-StreetmapsAccording to Bloomberg, U.K. based internet map provider Streetmap is suing Google over allegedly favoring its own maps to those of competitors. Streepmap is claiming that it’s harder to find their maps (and other competitors) in a Google search than it is to find Google Maps. Streetmaps is calling the issue a “cynical manipulation” by Google and is calling for a change in the way Google displays map related search results:

“We have had to take this action in an effort to protect our business and attract attention to those that, like us, have started their own technology businesses, only to find them damaged by Google’s cynical manipulation of search results,” Kate Sutton, commercial director of Streetmap, said in the statement.

The lawsuit mirrors complaints at the heart of the EU’s current investigation into whether or not Google’s abuses its search dominance to favor its own services over competitors within search results and elsewhere. Earlier today we reported that Google had handed in a formal offer of concessions to the European Commission related to the investigation, but there is no word yet on exactly Google’s settlement offer includes… expand full story

Google hands in formal offer of concessions to EU Commission in ongoing antitrust investigation

Back in early February, European Union Competition Commissioner Joaquin Almunia confirmed Google had handed in a proposal settlement in the ongoing antirust investigation into whether some of Google’s practices with its search and ad businesses create unfair competition and abuse the company’s dominance. Today Reuters reports that Google has not submitted an official offer of concessions to the Commission:

“In the last few weeks, the Commission completed its preliminary assessment formally setting out its concerns. On this basis, Google then made a formal submission of commitments to the Commission,” said Antoine Colombani, the Commission’s spokesman on competition policy.

“We are now preparing the launch of a market test to seek feedback from market players, including complainants, on these commitment proposals,” he said.

One thing conveniently left out of the report: at this point we do not know what the commitments Google has made and how they might reflect the user experience for customers.

investigation Stories March 18, 2013

Google investigating reports of Google Drive service disruption

Google has updated its apps status page this morning to reflect an investigation into reports of issues with Google Drive. Google doesn’t go into detail about what specific issues are being reported, but users online have reported problems connecting to the service mainly through the web app. The apps status page lists the problem as a service disruption, indicating not all users are unable to access to the service. The service disruptions seem to be hitting a large amount of users, and Google confirmed it would provide more information soon. We’ll update this post when Google provides us with an update.

investigation Stories May 4, 2012

Google facing tens of millions in fines in FTC’s iOS Safari privacy investigation

We knew that Google would likely face fines in the Federal Trade Commission’s investigation into its method of bypassing Apple’s default iOS Safari browser settings. Last month, reports claimed the FTC would make a decision on the fines within 30 days. Today, Reuters reported sources close to the situation have confirmed Google is currently negotiating with the FTC over fines that “could amount to tens of millions of dollars”:

Google Inc. (GOOG) is negotiating with the U.S. Federal Trade Commission over how big a fine it will have to pay for its breach of Apple Inc. (AAPL)’s Safari Internet browser, a person familiar with the matter said. The FTC is preparing to allege that Mountain View, California-based Google deceived consumers and violated terms of a consent decree signed with the commission last year when it planted so-called cookies on Safari, bypassing Apple software’s privacy settings, the person said.

Cross-posted on 9to5Mac.com

investigation Stories April 17, 2012

In February, the story broke that Google and other advertising companies were bypassing iOS Safari’s privacy settings and continuing to track users without their consent. Google quickly disabled its code responsible for the tracking after a story from The Wall Street Journal published, and Apple then claimed it was “working to put a stop” to the issue.

Now, a new report from Mercury News claimed the U.S. Federal Trade Commission is considering whether to fine Google over the incident. The decision is expected in the next 30 days:

The Federal Trade Commission is deep into an investigation of Google’s actions in bypassing the default privacy settings of Apple’s (AAPL) Safari browser for Google users, according to sources familiar with ongoing negotiations between the company and the government… Within the next 30 days, the FTC could order the Mountain View search giant to pay an even larger fine in the Safari case than the penalty the Federal Communications Commission hit Google with Friday, say the sources, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

The report is referring to Google being recently fined $25,000 by the FCC after it allegedly “deliberately impeded and delayed” an investigation related to Street View cars. The heart of the Safari bypassing investigation is whether the company is violating a previous privacy agreement made with the FTC following controversy over the failed “Buzz” service. The report claimed Google could face up to $16,000 per violation per day for violating the agreement. Google said to Mercury News today it would “cooperate with any officials who have questions” and explained making its +1 compatible on mobile Safari created the issue:

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investigation Stories August 24, 2011

Google will have to pony up $500 million in charges related to ads shown from online pharmacies that “operate outside the law”, according to a report from NYTimes citing sources “briefed on the investigation”.

The charges relate to an investigation launched in May which accused Google of displaying ads from illegally operated online pharmacies who allegedly sell “counterfeit drugs” or fail to “require a prescription”. While site owners are liable for the ads they display on their websites, Google is obviously being held somewhat accountable.

This isn’t Google’s first run in with shady online pharmacies. The company took to their official blog last year voice their frustrations calling the process of regulating online pharmacies an “ongoing, escalating cat-and-mouse game”.

The post explained: expand full story

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