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Google Under Scrutiny by European Commission for Alleged Antitrust Activity

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BRUSSELSGoogle, the giant internet search engine, has come under the scrutiny of the European Commission (EC), which has just announced an antitrust investigation amidst allegations Google has abused its dominance in the global online search arena.

The New York Times is reporting this morning that Google is alleged to have provided "preferential placement" of its own online services. There are also allegations, according to the EC, that Google may be guilty of "unfavorable treatment" in Google's unpaid and sponsored search results on behalf of specialized search-related companies.

This latest focus only adds to Google's woes here. In addition to the recent proposed class action over Gmail scanning and privacy violations, US authorities have had Google under the spotlight for some time, scrutinizing Google's various acquisitions and other business-related undertakings with an eye to an allegation of being anti-competitive.

There have been no formal charges or proceedings against Google by US regulators.

Allegations against Google currently under investigation by the EC include the potential for manipulation of the so-called Quality Score, a quantifier that is used to decide how much an advertiser pays Google to buy ads linked to a particular keyword in the burgeoning online marketplace.

Complaints on the part of three companies have fostered the most recent allegations against Google. Foundem, a British price-comparison service; Ciao, a price-comparison service in Germany owned by Microsoft; and eJustice, a French legal search tool, have alleged anti-competition practices on the part of Google.

The search engine and online juggernaut is already under investigation for alleged antitrust activities in Italy, Germany and France.

In a statement, Google said it had strived to "do the right thing by our users and our industry," such as "ensuring that ads are always clearly marked, making it easy for users and advertisers to take their data with them when they switch services, and investing heavily in open source projects.

"But there's always going to be room for improvement, and so we'll be working with the commission to address any concerns," the company said.

The EC is also looking into allegations that Google unfairly lowered the rankings of competing search entities. The Commission noted that it would make its investigation a priority, although the EC admitted it has no proof thus far relating to the allegations. Unlike its 66 percent share in the US, Google controls more than 80 percent of the online search market in Europe, according to figures released from ComScore.

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READER COMMENTS

Posted by

on
Yeah, because the CIA/FBI/Google have nothing better to do than track who reads what articles. Kevin, dude... NO-ONE CARES ABOUT YOUR OPINION/BELIEFS! And thankfully you ARE still allowed to have an opinion in the USA, even if it goes against the establishment you are railing against.

Posted by

on
So what's new? Google has always looked after their interest first...... regardless if being "fair" was at stake!

Google is the only company who infiltrates your business through it's strategic alliance partnerships and browsers which allow them to sell your information to others.... including your competitors whenever it chooses! Get real folks! During the election the DNC and Obama got all the poop on your donations, blocked or made your web based information whereby they controlled what and who you are! In fact if you copy this article and refer it to any other source........ well than you are on their list. Think not? Well just wait and see. Our current Administration.... especially agencis like the CIA, FBI and others are all in bed with them! SAY.......You don't believe Eric and his cronies at the Justice Department are in on it too?

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