Google Inc. Chairman Eric Schmidt was on the hot seat today, facing panel of senators demanding to know if Google abused its position as the leading search engine to give unfair prominence to its own businesses, particularly in a areas like shopping, travel services, stock quotes, and maps and driving directions. The complete text of Schmidt’s statement is available below.
The hearing before the Senate Judiciary antitrust subcommittee appeared on the schedule as, “The Power of Google: Serving Consumers or Threatening Competition?” As Schmidt reiterated Wednesday, Google says that consumers are free to use competing search engines like Bing, AOL and Baidu. Additionally, Google says its goal is to provide information quickly and accurately, not to promote its own properties.
The main tenor of the session’s questioning was represented by Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah), who suggested Google was “cooking the results” to make sure its own interests placed higher than those of other companies in reply to search inquiries. Schmidt defended the practice of returning Google Maps and Google Finance on top of the page, explaining that supplying actual answers was more useful than generating a list of links.
The Hill – http://tinyurl.com/3hkjqas
Washington Post – http://tinyurl.com/4xpbaub
Associated Press (yes, via Google News) – http://tinyurl.com/3barpql
Read Schmidt’s oral and written testimony here: