FairSearch is keeping up the pressure on Google, turning over a white paper blasting Google's search-engine and advertising practices to 50 US attorneys general.
The 44-page paper is called Google's Transformation From Gateway To Gatekeeper: How Google's Exclusionary and Anticompetitive Conduct Restricts Innovation and Deceives Consumers.
In addition to the US Federal Trade Commission, European Commission and Korean Fair Trade Commission, FairSearch says the states of Texas, California, Ohio and New York are mounting antitrust investigations of Google's practices while there are reports that Mississippi and Oklahoma are considering wading in.
The white paper is designed to prod other states to initiate their own investigations of Google.
The report alleges that Google's is anticompetitive with practices including:
- Deceptive displays (steering users to Google products in the guise of natural search results),
- Search manipulation "to exclude or penalize competing sites,"
- Unauthorized content scraping of reviews, for example,
- Unfair pricing practices for advertisers, and
- Exclusionary conduct in mobile by acquiring emerging competitors and inserting exclusionary restrictions when offering Android licensing agreements.
In its broad outlines, the paper doesn't break much new ground when discussing the travel vertical in particular as FairSearch's concerns
have been well-documented in recent months.
FairSearch members, including Expedia, Microsoft, Sabre and Kayak, among others, led the opposition to Google's acquisition of ITA Software.
Despite the intense antitrust scrutiny that Google currently faces, FairSearch claims Google has admitted to altering search results for specific websites and says:
There is little standing between Google manipulating its search algorithm to remove sites like Amazon, eBay and Expedia from Google's natural serach results -- even though those sites depend on Google for traffic. If left unchecked, this power could result in Google dominating more and more of Internet commerce -- with consumers and businesses having fewer choices, enjoying fewer benefits of innovation, and paying higher prices.