Google will be made to change the way it presents search results in Europe, or face sanctions from Brussels for unfairly manipulating its position as the world’s biggest internet search engine.
The European Union’s competition chief, Joaquin Almunia, has been reported as saying that Google is unfairly promoting links t its own services above those of those of third party companies.
Almunia, who is heading up the Brussels investigation into whether Google should change its search results to give equal treatment to services for its competitors, went on to tell a newspaper that he fears Google is abusing its dominant position.
In the long-running battle over preferential search results, US regulators dismissed suggestions Google was abusing its position, however Almunia made it clear that he will take the opposite stance.
“We are still investigating, but my conviction is [Google is] diverting traffic. They are monetising this kind of business, the strong position they have in the general search market...This is not only a dominant position, I think – I fear – there is an abuse of this dominant position.”
Almunia stressed that he was more concerned with the way that Google presents its results, rather than the complex codes at their heart, sparking speculation that Google could be asked to clearly mark its own services where it has pushed them in the search rankings.