Google has committed to improving its business practices as part of a decade-long investigation by the European Commission into monopolistic behaviour in online search.
Having rejected two initial proposals for reconciliation from Google, the Commission has now accepted the ad giant’s offer, with anti-trust chief Joachin Alumnia speaking in Brussels to say he believes the company is now ‘capable of addressing the concerns’.
The Commission said: “Google has now accepted to guarantee that whenever it promotes its own specialised search services on its web page (e.g. for products, hotels, restaurants, etc.), the services of three rivals, selected through an objective method, will also be displayed in a way that is clearly visible to users and comparable to the way in which Google displays its own services."
"This principle will apply not only for existing specialised search services, but also to changes in the presentation of those services and for future services."
'Difficult to feel complete comfort' with process
Glen Collins, CEO of user-generated content review site Review Centre, told Mobile Marketing that he doesn't feel entirely comfortable with the length of the latest case. "I think it’s very difficult to feel complete comfort in an anti-trust process that takes 10 years to reach a decision in a market where the rules, the players and the technology changes seemingly overnight."
SEO specialist Richard Baxter, MD of SEOgadget.com, said his company will be interested to know how Google will meet the obligations offered. "The concessionary measure offered by Google today apparently opens a fairer, less biased playing field for brands to succeed in search regardless of their budget and company size.
"We’ll be analysing just where Google intends to find the data for their enhanced ad listings, though we expect to find they’ll be influenced by results from Google’s Organic search service."
The Commission said it will now speak with the complainants to outline its reasons for the decision. They will then have another opportunity to 'make their views known' before the commitments are legally binding on Google.
Victim of its own success