Your Privacy and Google

Google had posted an interesting short blog post on its official Public Policy Blog dealing with its 6 principles related to openness and competition. It has a webinar with duration of 53 minutes accessible for download on the topic of openness and competition. It happened on April 9th. However, Google has decided to throw it in the spotlight for the benefit of others. Some people are seeing the posting of these materials as an attempt to counter the current media coverage of antitrust issues regarding the company.

This week FTC started an inquiry to clarify if the overlap of directors in Apple and Google can be said to be violation of antitrust law. The launch of the wide-ranging campaign was meant for convincing the media and policy makers about its fair business practice and anti monopoly attitude. The CEO of Google Eric Schmidt tried to give a fitting reply to the antitrust accusations ahead of the yearly shareholder meeting.

However, that has not deterred the consumer advocacy groups from saying that Google has the ingredients to emerge as a monopoly in the market. To battle the allegations raised by U.S. Department of Justice and FTC, Google has adopted the policy to refute the claims publicly.

Consumer Watchdog, a leading nonprofit group did not give much importance to the fact that Google sent a copy of its anti-monopolistic claims to the Department of Justice. It also marked the document with its comment. Both versions are available for download. As a matter of fact, this is not the first encounter of Consumer Watchdog with Google. Last month the entity sent a letter to Eric Holder, U.S. Attorney General. It asked him to intervene in Google’s settlement with Association of American Publishers and The Authors Guild.

Their argument was that the deal was not beneficial for the customers. In the Congressional testimony of May 7 Google argued that its News service would aid the digital media by alluring advertising dollars. As per the settlement, Google made a nonprofit Book Rights Registry for handling the digital rights issues. It has given the company the capacity to settle on the same terms for digital book rights as any future competitor.

A Consumer Watchdog spokesperson argued that the move included an 'anti-compete' clause making it harder for small entities to enter the market. In response to these allegations, the Justice Department began probing into the settlement as a probable antitrust case. The representatives of the participants were interviewed. However, there is no indication that the justice department will find fault with the settlement.

The Google blog post has highlighted that the company has been in touch with the journalists, policymakers, academics, think tank representatives to drive home the message that it is open to both openness and competition. It does not want to be depicted as a search engine monopolist to the mass and Web users. The management of the company admitted that such initiatives were not taken up earlier seriously by the company.

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