Google to give Bing and other search engines equal time in latest EU offer

Google has been trying to settle an antitrust problem from the European Union regarding how the company generates its search results for some time. Today, the EU's regulator, the European Commission, has announced Google sent a settlement proposal it claims is an improvement compared to previous offers.

The European Commission's press release states:

In its proposal, 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.

That could be a huge help for Bing and Yahoo, both of which are likely to be among the three rivals selected to have their services displayed alongside Google in its search results. The leader of the European Commission, Joaquin Almunia, stated today, "I believe that the new proposal obtained from Google after long and difficult talks can now address the Commission's concerns."

Google's settlement proposal is not yet final, however: The European Commission will allow Google's complainants, including Microsoft, a chance to voice any objections to this latest offer before the agency makes the the decision on whether to accept the proposal.

Source: European Commission | Image via Google

Report a problem with article
Previous Story

Lots of websites are already telling Satya Nadella how to do his job as Microsoft CEO

Next Story

Microsoft reportedly delays Windows 8.1 Update 1 to April

44 Comments

Commenting is disabled on this article.

To be clear here, Bing and Yahoo will only get included if they offer non-general search services (shopping, reviews, travel, etc).

Which really cuts to the stupidity of this decision. The fact that other general search engines like bing and yahoo have specialised search services that qualify to be listed under google's main page demonstrates that there's nothing at all wrong with google themselves doing it.

Yes, but yahoo does show up. Gmail and Google profile login shows at the top of the page, will they now have to have links to all email services and login options including disqus at the top too?

Why is this even an issue? It's already as easy to visit Bing and Yahoo as it is to visit Google. Will any popular web site now have to display competing content? Will any ad that airs frequently on TV have to mention competitors' alternatives?

The EU's reasoning (which I think is wrong) applies because Google is dominant (holds over 90% of the market). In most countries special rules kick in when a company is dominant.

It may be dominant, but this is purely the result of choice on the consumer's behalf. Google is not raising the barrier to entry for the other web sites, it is no harder to go to Yahoo or Bing as it is to go to Google. Each of these choices are equally easy to access and use, what is the consumer being protected from? Google is not being predatory here, and is not abusing the consumer.

Will Windows ads have to mention Macs and Chromebooks as alternatives? This is just asinine.

Yes, except that Google currently has the power of pushing competition from the playing field or severely impact other markets besides Search and advertising.

And here in the EU that is not allowed. And it shouldn't be. A possible monopoly has to be throttled.

I agree, but I see competitors show up when I search for services that they provide, so I guess I don't see the issue?

Competition commissions often end up going good by the consumer. This is no exception, neither were the ones against MS. It's only been a couple of years since I began trusting MS again and I find them a changed company for the better.

Smells like Karma to me. Google was one of the main complaitants when Microsoft was in the hot seat, now Google is getting some of that back.

Geezy said,
Karma is about what happens to you in the next life, not later on in this one.
Not necessarily. From Wikipedia: "Karma in the present affects one's future in the current life, as well as the nature and quality of future lives".

I'm not sure about what this actually implies: what and where are those specialized search services on Google's web page? Does it mean the category filters at the top of the search results (images, news, shopping, etc...) or is it something else?

It's related to "vertical" search. If you do a general google search for "flights to rome" or "android phones", google will usually give you ticket prices, or product prices, or reviews, before the organic search results.

Other vertical search providers (expedia, kelkoo, etc) complained that this was unfair to their business. Other general search providers (who do the same thing as google) jumped in to support them hoping it would result in remedies that hinder google.

The commission's website has a summary, and pictures (which will really help you understand).

http://europa.eu/rapid/press-release_MEMO-14-87_en.htm

xson said,
It's related to "vertical" search. If you do a general google search for "flights to rome" or "android phones", google will usually give you ticket prices, or product prices, or reviews, before the organic search results.

Other vertical search providers (expedia, kelkoo, etc) complained that this was unfair to their business. Other general search providers (who do the same thing as google) jumped in to support them hoping it would result in remedies that hinder google.

The commission's website has a summary, and pictures (which will really help you understand).

http://europa.eu/rapid/press-release_MEMO-14-87_en.htm

Thank you! I was scratching my head on this one....

I am not defending Google by any mean but EU should just give us a break. Its utterly dumb what they asking them to do. The reason we don't see any European firm to be number one in the world in this very stupid law they have. Sky is the limit. Let them grow, let users decide what to choose. Help them instead of giving them hard time. Learn from uncle Sam. As long as they pay taxes they can do whatever they want

Numero uno on that list is European for one.

So uhm, what are we Europeans doing wrong?

4 out the top 10 even. 3 are chinese and one is japanese... Yeah the mighty US of A is doing great.

I am not sure about other areas because they are not my area of expertise. but I know for sure in Tech world hands down USA beat Europe. Microsoft, Google, Apple, Facebook.... you name just one top European tech company that does well. hello??? now imagine These companies were in Europe, they would crush them under these stupid laws imposing things on them, bombard them with critics and morals and other stupid things,

Kirkburn said,
While they might not quite be one of those big four: Nokia, Skype, Rovio, ARM, and many others.

The only name there could ring a bell is ARM because Technically Skype and Part of Nokia is owned by Microsoft. rovio is just entertainment group not tech company. Even ARM if you think flourishing here in US by Qualcomm and Apple and Samsung in South Korea ( which is an extension of US ) I like Europe but I think instead of putting more stupid regulation EU should just let companies maneuver a bit.

EU is doing the right thing w.r.t anti trust. last thing we need is too big to fail ad firms taking over software and technology and run a scorched earth campaign against every one else.

guru said,
EU is doing the right thing w.r.t anti trust. last thing we need is too big to fail ad firms taking over software and technology and run a scorched earth campaign against every one else.

you are right. Google is not a tech company... it is a ad company! and NSA's most valuable asset.

guru said,
EU is doing the right thing w.r.t anti trust. last thing we need is too big to fail ad firms taking over software and technology and run a scorched earth campaign against every one else.

So when will the EU force Say VW dealers to sell Toyotas? Dumb right? Same thing here, no one should be FORCED to promote their competition

the solution might be debatable
but running anti trust against big companies is the absolutely the right thing to do. Its not like such things haven't happened before in US created baby bells , unbundled SW and Services from IBM..
These days US regulators dont seem to care or already bought up.

z0phi3l said,
So when will the EU force Say VW dealers to sell Toyotas? Dumb right? Same thing here, no one should be FORCED to promote their competition
Simple: VW does not hold 80%+ of the market.

The difference is that Google is known for search, not promotion of Google owned products. When 'Honest Joe's Used Car Lot' takes the majority of car sales in Europe and blackballs Toyotas, then I think the EU should step in too. But your car analogy isn't correct, as it's not what's happening in Europe.

Kirkburn said,
Simple: VW does not hold 80%+ of the market.

Hmm not sure about that since VW is responsible for:
Audi, Bentley, Bugatti, Lamborghini, Porsche, SEAT, Škoda and Volkswagen

So they're way bigger then you think but yeah not exactly 80% but I think it might be still quite a huge percentage.

Simon Fowkes said,
Great how the EU interferes in business and the market place, when it's self is so corrupt to the tune of billions every year!

You understand that 'only' a billion makes it one of the least corrupt places in the world. Well below the USA I might add.

Seahorsepip said,

Hmm not sure about that since VW is responsible for:
Audi, Bentley, Bugatti, Lamborghini, Porsche, SEAT, Škoda and Volkswagen

So they're way bigger then you think but yeah not exactly 80% but I think it might be still quite a huge percentage.


But they don't use either brand to promote the other. Except maybe Audi since half of them have their engine.

Majesticmerc said,

You realise that this is corruption over the EU as a whole, and not the EU governmental departments right (although I'm sure they take as many bribes as any other government)?


Taking a Brittish institution on how we Europeans think about the EU..... Bad example in the first place.

And look at the map, the countries who have issues with corruption in the EU.... are the most corrupt countries we have in Europe.

Italy, Spain and ofc Greece feel that EU is corrupt, mate have you missed the news completely the last 2-3 years? Or just completely oblivious.

Shadowzz said,

Taking a Brittish institution on how we Europeans think about the EU..... Bad example in the first place.

And look at the map, the countries who have issues with corruption in the EU.... are the most corrupt countries we have in Europe.

Italy, Spain and ofc Greece feel that EU is corrupt, mate have you missed the news completely the last 2-3 years? Or just completely oblivious.

Maybe you need to actually re-read what I said.

I was saying that the EU government doesn't have a problem with corruption, at least as far as I'm aware. The article is discussing the problem of corruption within each of the EU member states, such as bribing officials (police officers, councillors, etc).

As far as my opinions of the EU, I'm in favour of it, but that's a pretty moot point. I was simply responding to the OP to clarify that the article about "corruption in the EU" has little, if anything, to do with the European commission.

I don't really understand what you're getting angry about...

Corruption is anywhere, its more important where the corruption is lower. And the EU is not even half as bad as any of the other super powers out there.