For Google, regulatory clouds largely clear

Google once appeared headed for major clashes with regulators — in the United States or Europe, or both — as government officials sought to curb alleged abuses by one of the world’s most powerful and profitable technology companies. But the clouds over Google’s Silicon Valley headquarters have largely cleared over the past several months.The Federal Trade Commission, which this time last year was touting a hard-charging outside litigator to lead its antitrust investigation of Google, closed its case in January after negotiating only modest concessions. The Europeans in recent weeks have gone a bit further, issuing preliminary findings that Google may be abusing its dominance of the search industry to hurt competitors and, by extension, consumers. Regulators there also are insisting on changes to how Google designs its results pages, with clearer labeling of its own products and links to rival search engines.

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