Yelp And Expedia Set To Testify Against Google At Senate Judiciary Hearings This Week On Antitrust

Monday, September 19, 2011 11:08
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Yelp And Expedia Set To Testify Against Google At Senate Judiciary Hearings This Week On Antitrust

The chief executive of business-listings service Yelp Inc. and a representative of travel site Expedia Inc. will tell the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee that Google favors its own services in search results and demotes their competing sites, an issue that people familiar with the matter have said is at the center of the FTC's antitrust investigation.

 
Google Chairman Eric Schmidt will testify Wednesday but a second hearing on Thursday will contain the testimony that is likely to rock Google.
 
Google is, of course, the search engine used in about 70% of U.S. Internet searches and 80% of European searches. This hearing will mark the first time Google's competitors will complain publicly before a US government body that Google is manipulating search engines results to steer searches to its own Web properties.
 
The antitrust issue comes down to services like Yelp claiming Google is gaming search results to benefit its business, a charge Google denies.
 
Yelp is a popular service for finding local businesses. If you want to find a restaurant using your mobile phone, for example, you could point your phone's browser to Yelp.com, input your current location, and key search for restaurants." Yelp, a search engine for local businesses, will display the nearest restaurants ranked by reviews of the eatery by Yelp users.
 
Yelp competes directly with Google Places, a similar service for local business listings. When you run a search for a local business in Google, the Google Places results show up along with a map showing their locations. In Google, the Yelp results show up below the Google Places listings and are less prominent.
 
That's the crux of the antitrust investigation by the Federal Trade Commission into Google's business practices. The hearings could set the stage for a long legal battle between Google and the government.
 
 

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