The negotiations in the antitrust case between Google and the U.S. Federal Trade Commission is reportedly drawing to a close, with things looking up for Google, according to reports. The Wall Street Journal said that the FTC could agree to end its investigation as early as this week after Google voluntarily agreed to allay the agency’s concerns by making some changes to its search practice.
Though it’s still unclear exactly what those changes would entail, this likely means Google does not have to sign a formal settlement that would force it to agree to certain terms. A New York Times report also cited two anonymous sources who said that accusations that Google biases its search results in favor of its own services has been taken off the table, thereby clearing the way for an agreement to be reached. The FTC had charged that Google ranks things it owns higher than its competitors on its search engines, raising the ire of competitors Yahoo! and Bing. Still at issue is another FTC investigation into how Google handled mobile-technology patents after acquiring Motorola Mobility.
Last month, the FTC reportedly began putting pressure on Google to settle on the antitrust talks or face formal complaints, a move it hopes will keep the case from becoming a long, drawn-out ordeal.
A Google spokesperson said “We continue to work cooperatively with the Federal Trade Commission and are happy to answer any questions they may have.”
A FTC spokesperson said it does not comment on ongoing investigations.
Google provides search and advertising services, which together aim to organize and monetize the world’s information. In addition to its dominant search engine, it offers a plethora of online tools and platforms including: Gmail, Maps, YouTube, and Google+, the company’s extension into the social space. Most of its Web-based products are free, funded by Google’s highly integrated online advertising platforms AdWords and AdSense. Google promotes the idea that advertising should be highly targeted and relevant to users thus providing...