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Leaked documents reveal Google's underhand tactics

Google is now officially a bully.

Not like we didn't know that before, but with all the good things the company gave us, we kinda let it slip.

While we're on the subject of slipping, the U.S. Federal Trade Commission let a report mistakenly slip through to the Wall Street Journal (opens in new tab), which shows Google as a bullying monopolist.

The report, which was mistakenly provided to the Wall Street Journal as part of a public records request, reveals that FTC staff concluded in 2012 that Google's business tactics had caused "real harm to consumers and to innovation," and the staff recommended a lawsuit against the company.

FTC's commissioners decided not to pursue the case and closed the investigation, but their behaviour was in great detail explained in the 160-pages long review, and it won't help Google's image at all.

The findings reveal what Google was willing to do to maintain its dominance in search and bolster its lucrative advertising business.

Sometimes, Google manipulated its search engine and boosted links to its own properties even when rival services might have better served its users, according to the report, Computer World reports (opens in new tab).

If a comparison shopping site from a competitor should have ranked highest, for instance, Google Shopping was sometimes placed above it. And when Yelp was deemed a more relevant result, Google Local would appear on top, the FTC staff wrote (opens in new tab).

The agency closed its investigation of Google in 2013, after the company agreed to make changes to some of its practices, but that didn't stop it from expanding their services.

Sead Fadilpašić is a freelance tech writer and journalist with more than 17 years experience writing technology-focussed news, blogs, whitepapers, reviews, and ebooks. And his work has featured in online media outlets from all over the world, including Al Jazeera Balkans (where he was a Multimedia Journalist), Crypto News, TechRadar Pro, and IT Pro Portal, where he has written news and features for over five years. Sead's experience also includes writing for inbound marketing, where he creates technology-based content for clients from London to Singapore. Sead is a HubSpot-certified content creator.