Google has acknowledged it "could have been more transparent" about the methods it uses to determine its search engine rankings as the European Commission (EC) launches an antitrust investigation into the company's activities.

The Daily Telegraph reports a spokesman for the organisation stated "there's always going to be room for improvement", but denied the allegations it had deliberately lowered the rankings of its rivals.

According to the newspaper, the firm is taking a conciliatory strategy to the investigation in the hope of avoiding the possibility of long-running legal action and a potentially huge fine.

This is not the first time the EC has investigated a tech company, as in 2004 it handed a record €497 million (£420 million) penalty to Microsoft for breaching competition rules.

The group said it would work with the EC in order to deal with any concerns that have been voiced about the search engine's activities.

Accusations made against Google include claims by rivals such as Foundem and ejustice.fr that their rankings had been deliberately lowered, both for organic results and pay per click services.

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