Google Has A New Worry: The U.S. Senate

Eric Schmidt

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The leader of the Senate subcommittee on antitrust wants to take a close look at Google this year to see whether the company is unfairly favouring its own sites in search results.It’s another possible headache for Eric Schmidt, who is leaving the CEO position in April to become executive chairman, where he’ll oversee Google’s relationships with governments, partners, and customers.

Senator Herb Kohl, a Wisconsin Democrat, is the chairman of the Senate Subcommittee on Antitrust, Competition Policy, and Consumer Rights. Today, he released his 2011 agenda for the subcommittee, and Google is on the list. Here’s what the release says:

In recent years, the dominance over Internet search of the world’s largest search engine, Google, has increased and Google has increasingly sought to acquire e-commerce sites in myriad businesses. In this regard, we will closely examine allegations raised by e-commerce websites that compete with Google that they are being treated unfairly in search ranking, and in their ability to purchase search advertising.  We also will continue to closely examine the impact of further acquisitions in this sector.

Google is already facing an antitrust investigation in the European Union, where competitors accuse it of favouring its own sites in search results. An investigation at home would add a whole new headache.

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