TOP CHEF: When it Comes to Cooking, Google Doesn’t Have the Recipe

Eric Schmidt cut a dashing figure as he sat before the United Stated Judiciary Committee last Wednesday to defend Google’s business practices and ensure senators that there was nothing “evil” or “nefarious” about how the company was run.

The hearing is taking place amidst a very busy time for Google. The company has been the target of “hostile, organized campaign[s]” at the hands of Apple, Microsoft regarding patent claims. As a defensive measure, Google bought Motorola Mobility and in doing so, acquired their patent portfolio, which gave Google legal footing in the suit. Apple backed off of its suit with Motorola as a result of the acquisition.

Google’s Growth
This purchase is the latest and most high profile of a year defined by Google’s apparent shopping spree: Zagat, DailyDeal, Admeld and seventeen other companies have been folded into the big G since January 2011, all servicing different branches of its empire (Google: Voice, Books, Translate, Travel, etc.).

All this activity has caught the eye of Congress and a hearing was called in order to investigate whether or not Google was acting in a manner that did not break antitrust laws.

“Intense Questioning
Throughout the hearing, various senators expressed their appreciation for Google and the ways it has contributed to the advancement of modern society. Eric Schmidt accepted the praise graciously and answered the senators’ at times rough questioning in a calm, informative manner.

Tension appeared to rise at one point when Senator Mike Lee (R-UT) produced a slide indicating a pattern in Google’s search results and suggested, “You’ve cooked it so you’re always third.” Schmidt’s voice tightened and lowered to a growl, “Senator, I can assure you we have not cooked anything.”

Surely, a consistent third place rating is a testament to the stability of Google’s algorithm, and not an example of its underhanded, digital culinary tricks.

When asked whether Google was biasing search results in favor of its own services,. Herb Kohl, chairman of the judiciary committee, suggested that in light of Google’s turgid portfolio of applications and services, there was a profit motive to bias search results in favor of its own services. “I’m not sure Google is a rational business trying to maximize its own profits,” Schmidt replied.

Sure enough, Google makes the lion’s share of its profits through PPC and through renting out space on the Internet for ads that are managed by a demand side platform, not from referring searchers to its own pages.

Time will tell what’s in store for Google. On the one hand, Schmidt successfully defended the company’s practices against tough allegation from senators and businesses. On the other hand, as the company continues to grow and develop its products and services, they are more likely to be placed under a regulation microscope to ensure that they do not fall to the same fate as another multinational tech corporation did ten years ago.