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Google, IAC Clash over Chrome Extensions

TECH DIGEST – Google has confirmed that it removed some InterActive Corp. (IAC) browser extensions from the Chrome Web Store, following a report that Google thought some of these extensions may entail deceptive marketing.

IAC both relies on Google and competes heavily with the search giant, which the Wall Street Journal report said is now weighing “severe penalties” against the smaller company. Plus, the dispute comes amid heightened antitrust scrutiny for Google, including a suit from the Justice Department.

Per the Journal report, a Google audit found IAC, which owns a large portfolio of web properties from video platform Vimeo to finance site Investopedia, advertising against Google searches for voting information and other terms.

If users clicked on the ads, IAC would reset their Chrome homepages its own Google-powered search engine MyWay and install a browser bar for Ask.com, a separate IAC search property.

The Journal report says that Google has yet to take stronger action in part because it worries that doing so would raise further antitrust concerns.

A Google spokesperson confirmed the takedowns and added in a statement, “We’re reviewing [IAC’s] remaining extensions and our enforcement options, and have not made a decision regarding IAC’s status on the store.”

However, IAC in its own statement countered that, “Google has used their position to reduce our browser business to the last small corner of the internet, which they’re now seeking to quash”.

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