TECH
10/19/2012 04:16 pm ET | Updated Oct 19, 2012

Will An FTC Antitrust Suit Over Google Search Activity Benefit The Consumer Or The Competitor? (VIDEO)

Last week, Reuters reported that most of the major decision-makers at the Federal Trade Commission were convinced that an antitrust suit against Google Inc was warranted. Huffpost Live's Mike Sacks asks if an antitrust case would be worth the resources required, and if it would benefit consumers or simply give Google's competitors the upper hand.

Scott Cleland, a guest on the segment and the author of "Search & Destroy: Why You Can't Trust Google Inc," believes the FTC should bring a case against Google for manipulating search to favor its own products and "burying competitors."

"It is unfair to mislead or deceive users, and in this case they have been alleged to have baited and switched, meaning they have claimed to never manipulate search, however they favor their own products and services over others," Cleland told Huffpost Live.

Not everyone agrees that an FTC suit would be the best way to move forward. In fact, Christopher Dawson, technology writer at ZDnet, believes the market can better manage this monopoly by encouraging competition.

"Google has a vested interest in maintaining some degree of trust...we're not gonna share our information with them -- that is their bread and butter, in terms of being able to advertise to us -- if we don't have some truth with them. So, this is one thing the market will sort out quite handily," Dawson said, alluding that Google does in fact have competitors even though the search giant is the current market leader.

But this competition may not be aggressive enough to defeat Google's "dominant share," says Ben Hammer of Fairsearch.org.

"If you buy any goods and services from any business that advertises on the Internet, or you use any kind of technology, then this case is about you," Hammer told Huffpost Live.

Hammer added, "The question is if Google has a dominant share of the market -- and they undoubtedly do, with 80 percent of search in the U.S., more than 90 percent in Europe and more than 97 percent on mobile. Are they using that in ways that hurt competitors and make it harder for them to get in front of consumers, and will consumers at the end of the day be able to pick winners and losers on the internet or is Google going to put their own products ahead of everyone else and steer users to their own products?"

Do you believe Google favors its own products in search results? Should the FTC bring a suit against Google, or should the market take care of itself?

Watch the full segment below and sound off in the comments.

CONVERSATIONS