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Consumer Confidential: Confidence is up, Google is crowing

May 25, 2010 |  9:35 am

Here's your tea-for-two Tuesday roundup of consumer news from around the Web:

-- Feeling confident? You bet you are. Consumer confidence is now at the highest level in nearly three years -- at least according to our friends at the Conference Board who chart such things. Consumers' optimism has risen for the last three months and is now at the highest level since August 2007. The big driver is growing enthusiasm that employers will finally start hiring again. And that may be true. But a few more nasty days on Wall Street could put a crimp in those plans.

-- At least don't blame Google for the economy's woes. Everyone's favorite search engine says it generated $54 billion in economic activity last year, thanks to a surge in online advertising. California reaped the greatest benefit, Google says, enjoying more than $14 billion in Google-based action. "We make most of our revenue from the ads shown next to our search results, on our other websites and the websites of our partners," the company says. "Through these ad programs, we help many others make a living too." It's probably just a coincidence that state and federal officials have been taking a closer look at whether Google wields too much power over other businesses.

-- David Lazarus