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Saturday, September 4, 2010

The Associated Press: Texas opens inquiry into Google search rankings

Texas opens inquiry into Google search rankings

By MICHAEL LIEDTKE (AP) – 8 hours ago

SAN FRANCISCO — Google Inc.'s methods for recommending websites are
being reviewed by Texas' attorney general in an investigation spurred by
complaints that the company has abused its power as the Internet's
dominant search engine.

The antitrust inquiry disclosed by Google late Friday is just the latest
sign of the intensifying scrutiny facing the company as it enters its
adolescence. Since its inception in a Silicon Valley garage 12 years
ago, Google has gone from a quirky startup to one of the world's most
influential businesses with annual revenue approaching $30 billion.

A spokesman for Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott confirmed the
investigation, but declined further comment.

The review appears to be focused on whether Google is manipulating its
search results to stifle competition.

The pecking order of those results can make or break websites because
Google's search engine processes about two-thirds of the search requests
in the U.S. and handles even more volume in some parts of the world.

That dominance means a website ranking high on the first page of
Google's results will likely attract more traffic and generate more
revenue, either from ads or merchandise sales.

On the flip side, being buried in the back pages of the results, or even
at the bottom of the first page, can be financially devastating and, in
extreme cases, has been blamed for ruining some Internet companies.



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