It has been announced that the internet giant Google will face an enquiry and possible fine over allegations that it has been abusing its dominance of the internet and internet searches. The news comes after European consumer groups spoke of their alarm, stating that they believed Google was manipulating search results to benefit their own commercial ends.
Speaking about the issue, Monique Goyens, BEUC director general said “We are concerned that the dominant search engine, Google, may have abused its position in the search market to direct users to its own services and secondly to reduce the visibility of competing websites and services.”
A result of what is believed to be Google’s approach is that people doing an internet search to find the best price for a product are often directed to sites from which Google receives payment based on the number of people who click those links. The result of this strategy saw a 125 per cent increase to Google’s own price comparison site while visits to rival sites fell by 41 per cent.
Ms. Goyens added, “We are seriously concerned that if these allegations are substantiated by the Commission’s analysis and investigation, consumers have suffered harm from Google’s dominance by being provided with partial results of their search queries and thus being deprived of the possibility to make informed choices.”
The issue is currently being investigated by the European Commission and an announcement regarding a possible enquiry is expected shortly.