Google is about to be officially investigated for being evil. The Federal Trade Commission thinks its search engine may have violated antitrust law, and that Google may be a bully to the core. Review some potential supporting evidence below.

The impending probe described by the Wall Street Journal today would be far reaching and last at least a year, the most serious federal investigation the company has yet faced. The investigation hasn't officially launched yet, but the FTC has been making "informal inquiries" for several months, according to the Journal. It looks into fundamental principles of how Google operates its flagship search engine, including whether Google has used its dominance of web search to "unfairly channel users to its own growing network of services at the expense of rivals."

In other words, Google intercepts certain types of searches and presents custom formatted results, which often point you to other Google properties. Typing an address into Google, for example, results in a map at the top of the results page, a map that links to Google Maps (rival Mapquest is relegated to a normal link lower down). Here are some example searches, so you can decide for yourself if Google is being evil: Restaurant reviews (Google promotes its own review aggregator, see "8965 reviews"); Shopping (Google promotes its own shopping site, see "Nearby stores"); Movie showtimes (Google promotes its listings, see "More movies"); Weather (Google offers its own summary data first); Addresses (Google puts its own map site on top with a custom inlay).

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