F.T.C. Hires an Outside Litigator in Google Case - NYTimes.com
The general issue underlying the investigation is whether Google abuses its power in the market for Internet search. Google controls about 66 percent of the United States search market, according to comScore. Microsoft’s Bing accounts for about 15 percent of Internet searches, with Yahoo gathering 14 percent.
Competitors have said that Google at times adjusts the algorithm that produces its search results to lower the likelihood that a link to a competitor or a potential competitor for its products appears near the top of the results.
For example, if Google were to program its system so that a consumer’s search for “washing machines” is more likely to produce as its top result a link to Google-related shopping sites, that could be interpreted as putting its competitors at a disadvantage.
Questions have also been raised about whether Google has done the same thing with the paid advertisements that appear on the right-hand side of a Google search page.
While critics might say that Google is manipulating its results to hinder competitors, Google might assert that it is tweaking its model to provide the best results to consumers.