Google reaches agreement with EU regarding ‘anti-competitive’ search practices

A three-year long EU investigation into Google’s alleged ‘anti-competitive’ search engine practices looks set to come to an end. Google has reportedly reached a compromise with European Union regulators after Microsoft complained Google was abusing its dominant position within the search engine marketplace.

Google has agreed to make legally binding amendments to the format of its search results, which have reportedly been accepted by the European Commission (EC).

New labels for Google’s own search results

Recent reports claim that Google will be required to clearly label search results for its own services e.g. Google News or Google+. However, these changes will not result in amendments to Google’s influential search algorithm.

The compromise agreement between Google and the EU is expected to aid shopping and travel markets first and foremost, with firms such as Yelp and Tripadvisor complaining that Google consistently favoured its own services in its search results.

Before these changes go live Google is expected to embark on a period of market testing. As Google has agreed to the compromise it is thought the global giant will avoid a formal rebuke from the European Commission and should avoid having to fork out a hefty fine; much to the disappointment of those who complained in the first instance.

Although Google themselves failed to confirm nor deny the reports, a spokesman confirmed the company were  continuing to “work co-operatively with the European Commission”.

Google under attack from additional competitors

Google has also come under fire from many other sources of late. Microsoft, Nokia and Oracle united to allege further anti-competitive practices on its Android mobile operating system – claiming it favoured Google’s own apps over others.

Meanwhile Streetmap also voiced concern regarding Google’s methods, with the mapping service suggesting Google is giving its own Maps service preferential treatment.

Whether all this changes once Google rolls out its tweaked search results remains to be seen.

 

Image: Aray Chen (flickr)

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