Google Competitors Have One Month to Comment on EU Search Investigation
April 25, 2013 12:54 PM
Many rivals are not happy with Google's proposal
The European Commission has opened up the floor to Google's competitors in the current antitrust investigation regarding
the company's search practices
-- and the feedback isn't looking good so far.
"It is clear that mere labeling is not any kind of solution to the competition concerns that have been identified. Google should implement the same ranking policy to all websites," ICOMP -- a lobbying group sponsored by Microsoft -- said in a statement.
The Google rivals will have about a month to submit their views.
The European Commission opened a formal antitrust investigation into Google's search behavior in November 2010, which looked into Google's possible abuse of search dominance as well as using results to its own advantage.
In May 2012, the European Commission said that Google should submit changes in how its search results are wired. Earlier this year, Google
promised to do just that
in order to avoid any further wrath from the EU.
Google finally submitted its proposal, and just last week,
the EU accepted it
. Google's settlement proposal will not change the algorithm used to create its search results, but rather, the company will clearly label any search results from its own services. Not only that, but in some instances, Google will offer links from rival search engines.
More specifically, services where Google doesn't make money from search results (like weather and news) will be labeled as Google services. For places where Google sells ads, links to at least three competitors will be displayed. For services like Google Shopping, links to rivals will be auctioned.
In addition, the proposal will give websites the option to keep their content from vertical search properties, but stay in general search results. Furthermore, Google will help small businesses move their ad campaigns to other search engines.
Now that the EU has accepted this proposal, competitors like Microsoft, Expedia, TripAdvisor and Foundem can voice their opinions on it and help decide whether this proposal passes. But so far, it looks like competitors are not happy with what Google offered. Some, such as Foundem, say that Google's proposal falls short.
In January of this year, Google managed to escape a two-year U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) investigation
with no fines
. The investigation looked into Google's possible abuse of search dominance as well by using results to its own advantage. Shortly after, the EU said it
didn't plan to go easy on Google
the way the U.S. did.
Just this week, Google was hit with
a $189,000 fine
in Germany for using its Street view vehicles to capture data from users via open Wi-Fi networks.
"If they're going to pirate somebody, we want it to be us rather than somebody else." -- Microsoft Business Group President Jeff Raikes
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