Google issues settlement terms to the European Union

Apr 14, 2013
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Google has issued some new settlement terms to EU regulators to make sure that its search engine is much more competition-friendly. According to The Wall Street Journal's sources, Google's proposal was submitted last week, and will alter the way the search engine will look in Europe (it will look the same as it does now everywhere else in the world). If approved, Google would be bound to this proposal for 5 years, and it would be monitored by a 3rd party to ensure its following through with the terms.

Google's rivals will test out the new, proposed changes to its search engine in order to decide whether or not the changes will make a big enough impact. One of the changes involves alterations to Google's links to its own specialized sites. Alongside Google's results, there will also be at least 3 links to rival, specialized sites that are relevant to the search results. Google will also have stand-out labels to let users know when its promoting its own links.

However, links to rival specialized sites will only appear in Google+ Local, Google News, and its main search engine. Its own specific-search sites, like Google Shopping and Google Flight Search, where competitors pay to be listed, will be left unaltered. Along with listing rival sites, Google will also allow sites to opt out of its specialized sites without it affecting their rankings on its main search engine. It will also include a tool that lets sites prevent specific content from being indexed.

The EU also wants Google to change its contracts for AdSense, giving users more flexible options of bringing ads from other sources onto their sites. Google is already planning on allowing its users to adjust their AdWords campaign by letting them move their campaigns to a rival ad platform. All of these new proposals will allow other rival sites to better compete against the search engine giant.

Google submitted its proposal in a process known as Article 9. This process will allow Google to settle this antitrust case without being fined, like Microsoft. However, Google may not be crossing the finish line in this case just yet. Joaquin Almunia, EU's antitrust chief, is still considering whether or not he should open a probe against the Android operating system in order to see if its monopolizing the mobile marketplace.

[via The Wall Street Journal]


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