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Google to tweak search to end FTC probe, report says

Google could change how its search operates because of an investigation by the FTC in America.

For two years now, the Federal Trade Commission in America has been looking into how Google uses its search engine. It seems the investigation could be about to draw to a close, with Google making some changes to how its search operates, Politico reports.

According to the report, Google will alter how it uses "snippets". These are bits of text taken from other sites (like Yelp and TripAdvisor) and used in search results. Which could appease Yelp and others, who took Google to task for allegedly using their text without permission.

Google will also make it easier for companies to port their advertising campaigns to rival search engines. This is all according to unnamed sources in the Politico report.

It's not over yet though. Google's rivals might not be too happy with the search giant making these slight changes, and could take the case to the Justice Department. The European Commission is also carrying out an investigation of its own, so we could see a completely different outcome here in the UK and through the rest of Europe. The big G isn't out of the woods quite yet.

Google is also said to be close to settling with the FTC concerning patent infringement. According to Reuters, the search giant won't use its patent library (which has swelled since it bought Motorola) to block any products it believes infringes its intellectual property. Google previously used these patents in court cases the world over, though doing so is coming to be seen as anti-competitive.

As well as allegedly using other companies' text without asking permission, Google was accused of bumping its own services above others' in search results. This would force others to take out more adverts on the search engine to appear more visible, and hence mean more cash for Google. Eric Schmidt denied the allegations.

Do you think Google is sticking to its "Don't be evil" mantra? Let me know in the comments, or on our Facebook page.