Google Make Changes to Marketplace to Avoid EU Fine

by Alex Graves
See Dave Speak SMX London

Search engine giants Google are once again making changes to their service in order to fall into line with European legislation following an investigation that deemed that they were giving preferential treatment to particular results with the aim to increase their own income.

According to the BBC, Google are having to make "significant" changes to their search results to avoid a "multi-billion euro fine" following a three year investigation into how the company conducted their business.

On being informed that they would need to make changes in order to avoid the fine, Google revealed that they are "looking forward to resolving the matter".

The report that outlines the news on the BBC website pointed out that European Competition Commissioner Joaquin Almunia explained that he would not seek input from Google's competitors before the demand for change was formalised, saying "I consider at this point that we don't need a market test".

The news may be welcomed by some but it seems that the decision by the ECC has drawn interest from groups that are against the decision, including Microsoft backed Competitive Online Marketplace (Icomp), who have said that they believe that "A settlement without third party review is a massive failure".

Those that oppose the decision have outlined their belief that they need "time and opportunity to ensure full technical assessment of how effective the proposed remedies would be."

Although there are a number of groups and forums that are against the decision, Google have spoken out to echo their belief that their proposals to clear up the issues were "fair and wide-reaching."

With this the third sanction that Google have managed to avoid through careful changes made to their services, many believe that the search engine giants are getting away from the issue without action, just as they had done with their advertisements after they were deemed to be in breach of EU legislation due to their ability to blend into the organic search results that were being shown to users.

With a reported marketshare of a speculated 75% of all search engine users as per figures from web metric company ComScore, interest in their activity has been high after it was deemed that their actions were designed to steer users to click on results that increased Google's income rather than deliver the best search engine results that their algorithms identified.

Speaking about the most recent issue, the European Commission revealed that the proposals that Google had made and agreed to implement were to offer "comparable treatment" to their competitors after the search engine company said that any time that they deemed it correct to promote their own "specialised search services" they would also display "the services of three rivals" to allow for a more equal marketplace.

With the resolution that Google have agreed too hard to envision, the European Commission have shared a screenshot of how the results would look with the new changes in place, allowing for a visual to aligned with the news that Google are to make the changes to level out the marketplace that they have had a monopoly on for so long:

comparison

Joaquin Almunia revealed that he thought that the changes were a positive step for the search engine users, saying that he believes that once implemented, users would have a "real choice between competing services presented in a comparable way" saying that the decision over which of the solutions to their search query interests them the most, giving them the power to "choose the best alternative" if they preferred.

Here is how the Google Product Listings have been altered below:

comparison2

How do you think this will affect the Google income forecast and future revenues? Do you think that this is a move that shows that Google are willing to comply or just an effort to continue their monopoly on a slightly smaller exposure scale?

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