Google will alter search to end FTC antitrust inquiry, says report

The search giant will alter its use of "snippets" -- bits of text from other sites -- and make it easier for search advertisers to shuttle their campaigns to rival services, according to a report.

The Federal Trade Commission may bring its two-year antitrust investigation of Google to a close by allowing the company to make voluntary changes to its search business, according to a report.

The search giant is said to be readying an announcement about changes to its use of "snippets," bits of text culled from sites such as Yelp and TripAdvisor and displayed in search results, Politico reports, citing unnamed sources. Yelp and others had charged Google with using their content without permission.

Google will also make tweaks that will allow for easier porting of search-ad campaigns from Google to rival search services, Politico's sources said.

Politico suggested on Tuesday that the FTC may leave the search-related case to the European Commission, which has mounted an investigation of its own. Reuters reported on Tuesday that some Google competitors, sensing a possible defeat, are taking the case to the Justice Department.

Google and the FTC also look to be close to a settlement in a case involving so-called FRAND -- or standard essential -- patents owned by Google.

Politico said the FTC declined to comment on today's report about the search tweaks, and it said Google would provide only the following statement: "We continue to work cooperatively with the Federal Trade Commission and are happy to answer any questions they may have."

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