Will Google Help Competitors To Appease Regulators?
As you may know, the European Commission has been investigating Google’s search business for about two years. This is expected to reach a conclusion soon, as Google recently submitted a proposal for settling concerns.
The Financial Times is now reporting (via TechCrunch) that Google will likely bow to regulatory pressure by taking measures to more prominently show results from competing vertical search engines.
The publication reports:
One of the European Commission’s primary concerns, according to officials involved, is the visibility in search results of rival so-called “vertical search” services – in areas such as maps, finance or weather – that may provide more relevant results to a query.
This specific finding indicates that alongside widely expected concessions to more clearly label Google’s own services, the US group will also need to offer solutions that give more prominence to rival specialist search services and consumers clearer alternatives.
While it remains to be seen if this will actually happen, this would go significantly further than Google’s concessions in the U.S. Federal Trade Commission investigation.
Should Google be required to give competing services more visibility in its own search results, even if it hurts the user experience?
The New York Times reported this week that EU antitrust chief Joaquin Almunia said he’s receiving proposals from Google this week. While Almunia has not commented on the angle, a new complaint was filed by Google competitors claiming that the company unfairly uses Android to help its search business.