The Google chairman, Eric Schmidt, faces a Senate grilling over the power of the internet giant.
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Mimes are fairly polite for Consumer Watchdog standards. The group put out a couple of videos featuring an animated Eric Schmidt as a deeply creepy ice cream truck salesman stealing children's secrets and every bit as scary as the child catcher in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. "Lollipops! And all free today!"
The fun started earlier today – there are mimes!
Consumer Watchdog, which is exactly what it says on the label, has been an outspoken critic of Google for sometime. The consumer lobby group has hired three mimes to follow people around the Dirksen Senate Office Building where Schmidt will testify wearing white track suits with Google's famous "Don't be Evil" mantra emblazoned on them. The mimes are silently tracking people just like Google does – geddit! And I thought only the French used mimes to make political points.
Google chairman Eric Schmidt is appearing before a Senate committee this afternoon.
The key issue under examination is whether Google uses its massive lead in internet search to unfairly promote its other business lines, such as YouTube, Google Books, or Google Travel.
Google is the new Microsoft, an analogy neither side likes. It dominates online search like Microsoft dominates PC software and now, like Microsoft before it, Google is being accused of shutting out competition.
The competition is on later. Yelp CEO Jeremy Stoppelman, Nextag CEO Jeffrey Katz, and Thomas Barnett, a lawyer for Expedia, are all expected to give Schmidt their best shot after his initial testimony.
Schmidt is due on at 2pm, and we'll have live updates throughout the hearing.