Although Google escaped relatively unscathed from a U.S. antitrust investigation into its business practices by the FTC, Europe may bring a less favorable result for the dominant search engine, based on comments by the EU competition commissioner.
Joaquín Almunia’s chief concern isn’t Google’s algorithm, however. He’s more concerned with how Google presents their own services.
In an interview with the Financial Times, Almunia accused Google of giving itself preferential treatment by “diverting traffic” to its own vertical search products, including Google Maps, Flights, and Shopping.
“They are monetizing this kind of business, the strong position they have in the general search market and this is not only a dominant position, I think – I fear – there is an abuse of this dominant position,” Almunia told the Financial Times. Google commands around 90 percent of the search market in Europe.
One possible remedy may be a change to how Google brands and displays its own products in the search results.
Google is expected to present a plan to address the EU’s concerns, but Almunia warned that “he would be ‘obliged’ to issue formal charges if its proposal – expected this month – is unsatisfactory,” according to Bloomberg.