The European Commission has launched an investigation into the world’s most popular search engine, Google, following complaints from rival services. The complaints revolve around suspicions of “unfavourable treatment of competitor services in Google’s unpaid sponsored search results coupled with an alleged preferential placement of Google’s own services”. According to the EC, the probe does not imply any wrongdoing by Google, however, it will check whether the organisation has abused its dominant position by penalising competitors such as ejustice.fr and Foundem, in its search results.
According to Foundem, “Google is exploiting its dominance of search in ways that stifle innovation, suppress competition, and erode consumer choice.” The investigation will therefore try to find out whether Google’s search result algorithms negatively affect the ranking of vertical search service providers such as price comparison sites irrespective of relevance. Furthermore, the EC will investigate “suspected restrictions on the portability of online advertising campaign data to competing online advertising platforms”.
Google has so far denied all allegations that suggest that it manipulates its search results and stated that it would corporate with the EC in order to address any concerns. However, the news of the investigation has been welcomed by advertising agencies such as, WPP – the world’s largest communications services groups.
What is your opinion on Google’s dominance of the search engine market? Would you like to see other online advertising companies play a more active role?