It’s official: Google just filed a public notice acknowledging that its business practices are under investigation by the Federal Trade Commission.
“On June 23, 2011, Google Inc. received a subpoena and a notice of civil investigative demand from the U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) relating to a review by the FTC of Google’s business practices, including search and advertising,” reads the filing. “Google is cooperating with the FTC on this investigation.”
In a post on its official blog, the company says it recognizes that its success “has led to greater scrutiny.” The post adds, “It’s still unclear exactly what the FTC’s concerns are, but we’re clear about where we stand. Since the beginning, we have been guided by the idea that, if we focus on the user, all else will follow.”
The post also lays out and explains the company’s core principles: Do what’s best for the user; Provide the most relevant answers as quickly as possible; Label advertisements clearly; Be transparent; and Loyalty, not lock-in.
The investigation doesn’t necessarily mean the federal government will ultimately bring charges against the company.
The Wall Street Journal had reported yesterday that the FTC was preparing to launch the investigation, focusing on whether the search giant has unfairly used its dominance in the Internet search business to favor its own products over those from its rivals.
Google holds about 65 percent of the U.S. search market, compared to a combined 30 percent for Microsoft and Yahoo, according to the latest numbers from the comScore research firm.