Google mulls penalizing IAC for ‘deceptive’ marketing

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Google is weighing whether to clamp down on billionaire Barry Diller’s IAC/Interactive over allegedly deceptive marketing practices that make use of the Chrome web browser.

IAC has had a number of its browser extensions taken down by the search giant due to “policy violations,” with Google reportedly reviewing “enforcement options” against it.

Google determined that IAC was engaging in “deceptive marketing practices,” the Wall Street Journal reported, misleading users by promising functions its browser extensions could not deliver.

Some of the extensions — tools that can be added to a web browser to add new functionalities — were designed to give easy access to documents like government forms, power-tool manuals and Bible quotes.

In some cases, the extensions steered users toward additional online ads.

Though Google’s trust and safety team has recommended taking strong action against IAC, the company has been wary to be viewed as taking anticompetitive action against a company that is its rival in some categories, according to the report.

IAC in a statement denied that it broke Google’s rules, adding that the tech giant “has taken hundreds of millions of dollars from us to advertise and distribute these products in the Chrome Store.”

“There’s nothing new here — 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,” IAC said.

In a statement, Google said, “We continue to have conversations with IAC related to Chrome Web Store policies and we have already removed a number of their extensions for violating our policies,” Google said in a statement.

“We’re reviewing the remaining extensions and our enforcement options, and have not made a decision regarding iAC’s status on the store,” it continued.

With Post wires.