The United States Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has closed its investigation of Google’s potentially anti-competitive practices related to Google Search and other services. The verdict? Google’s services are now in the clear and considered good for users and competition. In other words, FTC did not find enough anti-competitive wrongdoing on Google’s part to pursue legal action. Google, however, had to make a couple of changes to appease the FTC’s concerns.
The first of which has to deal with Google Search. Google has numerous algorithms working in the background that determine the top results you see when performing a search. The FTC found that some modifications that Google made to these search algorithms may have hurt some of its competitors but deemed those changes to be justifiable because of the innovation made in improving search, and improving the experience of users.
Google also promised to make it easier for advertisers to export their ad campaign data from Google’s AdWords to third party services that use the AdWords API, as well remove restrictions that make it difficult to manage these ad campaigns on both AdWords and competing services.
Finally, Google agreed with the FTC to seek to resolve standard-essential patent disputes with a neutral third party before seeking injunctions. The company also agreed that it wouldn’t seek an injunction against licensees of patents that Google committed to license on FRAND (Fair, Reasonable, and Non-Discriminatory) terms — meaning Google will not be able to use the threat of injunction to leverage a higher licensing fee when suing against a company that builds products that use a Google-owned patent that’s part of a standard.