The European Commission looks set to move forward with a regulatory crackdown on Google over alleged antitrust issues: despite its equivalent US body clearing the Internet giant of search bias last week.
Joaquin Almunia, from the EC, remains adamant that Google unfairly ranks its own products – such as news, maps and shopping – higher in the results than its rivals. In a separate investigation, the US Federal Trade Commission cleared Google of antitrust in search just a week ago.
Both bodies had concerns over whether the search engine giant gave its own products and services preferential positions in its search results, and stifled the rankings of competing products and services – a pain for firms which use SEO on the platform to rank on the first page as part of their Internet marketing strategy.
Mr Almunia said: “We are still investigating, but my conviction is [Google is] diverting traffic.”
“They are monetising this kind of business, the strong position they have in the general search market…This is not only a dominant position, I think – I fear – there is an abuse of this dominant position.”
The commission has been investigating Google since 2010, and last May outlined four main fears over how Google conducted certain issues in relation to search.
The first fear involved the possibility that Google was distorting natural search results. A second fear was that the firm was possibly copying user reviews from rival services.
The final two concerns revolved around the possibility that it was forcing other websites (for which it actually sells and delivers ads to), to only work with Google itself. Finally, the Commission was concerned over how easily advertising campaigns booked via Google could be transferred to other platforms in regards to search advertising.
Google has always denied any wrongdoing. A Google spokesman said that the firm would continue to cooperate with the European Union over the matter.
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