Congressional antitrust proceedings are underway, and David Cicilline has not wasted time setting the tone of an aggressive line of interrogation for Google CEO Sundar Pichai.
His first question was, “Why is Google stealing content from honest companies?”
The question came after Cicilline revealed that the committee had spoken to many small businesses claiming that Google had “stolen content” from them.
Pichai managed to avoid this question by telling Cicilline that he did not agree with the “characterization” before Cicilline moved on.
However, the initial revelation revealed some information that was excavated during the committee̵7;s year-round investigation.
“Most Americans believe that when they enter a search query, Google’s results are the most relevant,” Cicilline said. “However, Google is increasingly showing what works best for Google.”
“We have always focused on providing the most relevant information to users,” Pichai replied.
Cicilline specifically stated Yelp’s allegations that Google threatened to exclude his website from search results.
And he was referring to a recent report that Google prioritized its own products in search results.
“Isn’t there a major conflict of interest between services for users who want access to the best and most relevant information and Google’s business model that motivates Google to sell ads and keep users on Google’s own site?” Cicilline asked.
It was the first time that all four Directors-General had been given an idea of what types of questions could be asked of them – and proof that the committee had done its homework.
“The evidence seems very clear to me. As Google became the gateway to the Internet, it began to abuse its power and used Internet traffic surveillance to identify and destroy competing threats. has increased the cost of user access on the Internet and virtually ensured that every business that wants to find itself on the web must pay Google a tax, ”Cicilline said in his concluding remarks.
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