Google has had a tough time dealing with the European Union's (EU) antitrust regulators in recent years. A lot of the company's recent movements across various domains have been scrutinized by authorities in the region. This includes an investigation into Google's acquisition of Fitbit, a fine on its ad serving practices, an antitrust probe into its ad business, and losing an appeal related to a 2017 decision that had it paying a fine of €2.42 billion for unfairly favoring its own shopping services in search results. Now, a Danish job search firm has filed an antitrust complaint again Google.
According to Reuters, Danish company Jobindex claims that Google is unfairly leveraging its Google for Jobs tool to skew the market in its favor. The tool was first reported to EU antitrust head honcho Margrethe Vestager three years ago by 23 EU job search firms, and although Google has said that it modified its functionalities to cater to the complaints raised by competitors, the European Commission (EC) is yet to comment on the matter.
Essentially, Google for Jobs aggregates job postings from all over the internet and pushes it to relevant Google Search users as a widget. Jobindex says that this is an unfair practice because Google is using its grip over the search market to direct consumers to its own tool at a higher priority even though it is inferior to what local competitors offer.
Jobindex's CEO Kaare Danielsen stated that:
[...] In the short time following the introduction of Google for Jobs in Denmark, Jobindex lost 20% of search traffic to Google's inferior service.
By putting its own inferior service at the top of results pages, Google in effect hides some of the most relevant job offerings from job seekers. Recruiters in turn may no longer reach all job seekers, unless they use Google's job service.
This does not just stifle competition amongst recruitment services but directly impairs labour markets, which are central to any economy.
Danielsen pointed out that Google is even using Jobindex's ads without its permission on Google for Jobs. The executive has urged the EC to look into the matter, fine Google, and put a halt to its alleged anti-competitive practices.