The Google logo at company headquarters; Photo by Robert Galbraith-Pool/Getty Images
Google CEO Eric Schmidt is set to testify Wednesday afternoon before a Senate subcommittee that will ask him whether the Internet giant is unfairly hurting competitors by boosting its own products in search results.
Update 2:12 p.m. | We’re having some technical difficulties getting the video feed to livestream, but the hearing can also be viewed here.
You can watch his testimony here, starting around 2 p.m. ET.
The San Jose Mercury News bills the hearing as “a moment of high-stakes theater for Silicon Valley, and a potentially fateful milestone for the ‘Don’t be evil’ startup that has muscled up into an Internet superpower”:
> The Senate antitrust hearing — “The Power of Google: Serving Consumers or Threatening Competition?” — technically has no connection to an ongoing federal inquiry into whether Google has unfairly blocked or eliminated search competitors, to the detriment of consumers. But Google’s executive chairman will be under oath, and experts said Schmidt’s bearing and the responsiveness of his answers could affect Google’s public image, and perhaps bolster or weaken the momentum of the Federal Trade Commission antitrust investigation. Congressional testimony from Microsoft founder Bill Gates in 1998, perceived by many as arrogant and dismissive, was quickly followed by a formal government antitrust suit.
Representatives of three other businesses are also slated to appear. The Wall Street Journal reports:
Nextag, Yelp and Expedia, which will all testify Wednesday, said they believe they are being targeted by Google because their websites have become places where some people search for specific information, sometimes without searching first on Google.
Google has been stepping up its presence inside the Beltway of late. According to the Sunlight Foundation Reporting Group:
It spent $5.2 million lobbying last year and $3.5 million so far this year after hiring 13 new lobby firms following the FTC’s investigation launch in June.
Google has been a top donor to 18 members of Congress so far in the 2012 election cycle, was a top donor to 27 members in 2010 and the second-highest donor to the Democratic National Committee in the 2010 cycle, giving $190,000.