Google CEO Eric Schmidt defended his company saying it did not stack the deck in favor of Google's own products and services, but business leaders that rely on Google's search engine blasted Google's business practices at a Senate hearing looking into Google's compliance with antitrust laws.
Eight members of the Antitrust, Competition and Consumer Rights Subcommittee of the Judiciary Committee quizzed Schmidt about its business practices and how Google's search engine works, especially as the online giant expands into developing additional consumer products.
Schmidt said Google search results are derived from an algorithm based on popularity and search terms and does not give special treatment to its own products. But Jeremy Stoppelman, CEO of Yelp and also a witness at today's hearing, said otherwise. He said Google demanded that Yelp comply with Google demands to be included in Google's search engine, including providing its content to Google.
Google has come under fire for using its unique position as a popular search engine to steer consumers toward its own products, and the Federal Trade Commission has already opened an antitrust investigation into Google practices. This is the second time Senator Herb Kohl (D-WI), chair of the Antitrust Subcommittee, has asked Schmidt to appear before the committee, but Schmidt declined earlier this year.
The witnesses on the second panel have been critical of Google’s dominance, include Jeff Katz of Nextag, Jeremy Stoppelman of Yelp, and Thomas Barnett former Assistant Attorney General and current partner at Covington & Burling, a law firm specializing in antitrust law. Barnett said antitrust laws must be enforced against Google.