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Google defends itself before Senate antitrust hearing

Chocolate Factory blogs answers to anti-competition allegations

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Just ahead of its grilling in front of the Senate in Washington, Google has set up a blog page answering some of the anti-competition allegations against it.

Set up as a point-by-point statement and rebuttal, the webpage answers some of the accusations levelled at the search engine behemoth by business group Fairsearch, which includes e-commerce sites like Expedia and Tripadvisor, as well as other sites including review and business-listing site Yelp.

The critics say that Google ranks search engine results to favour its own services: eg, ranking Google Places results above Yelp results for local business listings. They've also accused the search engine of helping its advertisers to better results rather than focusing on the best results for its users, pushing certain websites down in results, using third-party reviews in Places and limiting choice in its Android OS.

Google's webpage starts off with the old tried-and-tested "if you don't like it, don't use it" defence:

Using Google is a choice. Sure, Google has lots of users, but Google is more like a GPS for the Internet – a helpful guide, but not necessary to get around.

The Chocolate Factory insists that it is focused on users, not advertisers, and is constantly updating and changing its search algorithms as well as services such as Places, amongst other arguments.

Former CEO and current chairman Eric Schmidt will appear before the Senate Committee on Antitrust, Competition Policy and Consumer Rights tomorrow at 2pm EDT. Jeff Katz, CEO of Nextag, and Jeremy Stoppelman, co-founder and chief exec at Yelp, are also on the committee witness list. ®

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