Google has abused its power in ways that have harmed users of the Internet and competitors to Google.
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) reached the conclusion back in 2012 after a lengthy investigation. In fact, the FTC was extremely close to suing Google.
As part of a settlement that Google made with the FTC, the search giant had to make a number of minor changes to its business practices, then arguing that the report from the FTC did not show any wrongdoing. FTC officials, however, collected millions of documents and wanted to take legal action against Google.
According to the report, Google had taken content from the likes of Yelp, TripAdvisor and Amazon. When it came to Amazon, Google even took product rankings and displayed them in its own search results. When companies complained about this process, Google threatened to remove that company from search results entirely.
"It is clear that Google's threat was intended to produce, and did produce, the desired effect, which was to coerce Yelp and TripAdvisor into backing down," said the report.
The FTC eventually made Google let websites opt out from this process.
Google also reportedly restricted websites from collaborating with competing search engines, especially when it came to ad content. According to the report, Google executive and co-founder Larry Page personally asked for this process to continue. The FTC also made Google shut down this process.
In conclusion, the FTC said that Google was "working toward an overall goal of maintaining its market share by providing the best user experience, while simultaneously engaging in tactics that resulted in harm to many vertical competitors, and likely helped to entrench Google's monopoly power over search and search advertising."
Google was even using anti-competitive tactics in displaying its search results. The report suggests that Google demoted results for certain vertical websites in "highly commercial categories."
Ultimately, Google only made a few minor changes to how it operated, and although it was very close, the FTC decided against legal action. Because of this, Google saw the process as a win.
Google is in a very difficult position. The company is trying to maintain its market share by aiming to provide the best user experience, while making use of tactics that are designed to harm competitors.
The search market is getting increasingly competitive, with the likes of Yahoo and Bing gaining on Google as companies like Apple and Mozilla change default search engines from Google to Google's competitors.