Google to send Schmidt to testify at Senate antitrust hearing

Google on Friday said it has agreed to send executive chairman Eric Schmidt to Congress in September to testify about its dominance in web-based search and related products.

The government has shown an increasing interest in questioning Google’s activities. Two weeks ago, Google confirmed that the Federal Trade Commission was readying a large-scale antitrust probe of the company’s activities. Google brushed off the FTC probe nonchalantly by say it was “unclear exactly what the FTC’s concerns are.” That’s a bit disingenuous, as it’s obvious Google has the most influence in the U.S. for search and is making waves in mobile with its Android OS, which is now the most popular smartphone operating system.

Google needed to make a move, as the Senate Judiciary antitrust subcommittee had previously threatened to subpoena CEO Larry Page or Schmidt if the company did not cooperate. The subcommittee intends to look at Google’s position as the world’s biggest search engine and whether that is hurting competition for other Internet and technology companies.

Eric Schmidt became CEO of Google in 2001 but was replaced by co-founder Larry Page in April. However, Schmidt’s position of executive chairman still means he has a lot of influence in the company and the tech community, and his words on Capitol Hill will reverberate loudly through the government and businesses alike.