Guess what topic spiked on Google search today? Google’s own confirmation that the Federal Trade Commission has opened an antitrust investigation into its practices related to its search and advertising services.

The Google blog post made a strong defense against accusations made by rivals and contained in various news articles in recent days that Google has manipulated its search results to favor its own services at the expense of others.

“At Google, we’ve always focused on putting the user first,” wrote Amit Singhal, a Google fellow. “No matter what you’re looking for — buying a movie ticket, finding the best burger nearby, or watching a royal wedding — we want to get you the information you want as quickly as possible. Sometimes the best result is a link to another Web site. Other times it’s a news article, sports score, stock quote, a video or a map.”

But, critics of Google, including Microsoft and the Web sites Expedia, Travelocity and Kayak, said in a statement that Google’s “anti-competitive practices include scraping and using other companies’ content without their permission, deceptive display of search results, manipulation of search results canadian casino to favor Google’s products, and the acquisition of competitive threats to Google’s dominance. Google’s practices are deserving of full-scale investigations by U.S. antitrust authorities.”

The New York Times also stated that based on the position of a company on the Google’s search results, Google directly affects how much traffic a website is getting and can theoretically charge that website for advertising.

According to a morning blog in the New York Times, the inquiry has the potential to turn into the biggest showdown between the U.S. government and a major technology company since the Microsoft antitrust trial that began in the late 1990s.

Google’s business practices and its dominance over the Internet have come under scrutiny from the Justice Department and the Federal Trade Commission a number of times in recent years. But the prior cases focused either on acquisitions or on portions of Google’s business that were not critical to its survival, the Times reported.

After reciting a list of core Google values, including user focus, transparency, and excellent service, Singhal wrote, “These are the principles that guide us, and we know they’ll stand up to scrutiny. We’re committed to giving you choices, ensuring that businesses can grow and create jobs, and, ultimately, fostering an Internet that benefits us all.”