Google has been battling allegations of burying rival companies in its web search results while promoting its own services, such as Maps and YouTube. The search giant was close to avoiding costly fines from the European Commission, but following negative feedback from its competitors, Google will now have to take additional measures to settle this multi-year investigation.
Earlier in the year, it appeared that Google had dodged a fine of up to $5 billion, by agreeing to improve the way it labeled links for its own services. However, this past weekend, several European publishers ran an ad accusing the Mountain View-based company of favoritism towards its own products. Soon after, Google executive chairman, Eric Schmidt addressed these claims in a blog post.
“We show the results at the top that answer the user’s queries directly (after all we built Google for users, not websites)” The Google executive followed with some “real-life examples.”
Ask for the weather and we give you the local weather right at the top. This means weather sites rank lower, and get less traffic. But because it’s good for users, we think that’s OK.
It’s the same if you want to buy something (whether it’s shoes or insurance). We try to show you different offers and websites where you can actually purchase stuff — not links to specialized search engines (which rank lower) where you have to repeat your query.
If you’re after directions to the nearest pharmacy, you get a Google Map with the closest stores and information to get you there. Again we think that’s a great result for users.
It’s unclear how long Google has to address the latest set complaints presented, however a company spokesperson recently told Reuters that it would continue working with the European Commission to resolve these new issues.