“Product design is an important dimension of competition and condemning legitimate product improvements risks harming consumers. Reasonable minds may differ as to the best way to design a search results page and the best way to allocate space among organic links, paid advertisements, and other features. And reasonable search algorithms may differ as to how best to rank any given website.”
Google’s long-awaited settlement with the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) was just released, and it’s mostly as expected: Google avoids an antitrust suit and patent regulation by making some changes to its business practices. But in a somewhat unexpected twist, the FTC offered a full-throated defense of Google’s practice of promoting its own services over competitors like Yelp on certain search results pages, saying the practice benefits consumers.
The FTC’s statement on Google’s search practices can be read in full here.