As the European Parliament prepares a non-binding resolution that would essentially propose splitting Google’s search engine from other business ventures, Google faces strong criticism in Europe from politicians and business executives. According to Reuters, the motion by the European Parliament “calls on the Commission to consider proposals with the aim of unbundling search engines from other commercial services as one potential long-term solution.”
While it doesn’t mention Google by name, Google maintains 90 percent of the search engine market share in Europe, Reuters claims, adding that the European Parliament has no power to start legislation and has no actual authority to break Google up. The non-binding draft resolution would start the wheels in motion though.
“It’s a strong expression of the fact that things are going to change,” Gary Reback, an American lawyer who has filed complaints against Google over fair search for his clients, said. “The parliament doesn’t bind the commission for sure, but they have to listen.”
In the U.S. last year, regulators closed an investigation determining that Google had not manipulated web search results in order to hurt rival companies, but that Google had previously “scraped” reviews of its own products from its competitors websites. The regulators were able to get Google to agree to stop the practice, according to Reuters.
Yelp maintains that Google ranks its own content higher such as when Google+ reviews rank higher than Yelp’s.
“By hardwiring Google+ in the largest category of search, Google isn’t just stifling innovation, it’s harming consumers,” Luther Lowe, Yelp Director of Public Policy, explained to Reuters.
In a Forbes editorial, it is theorized that the European Parliament is especially upset over an internet battle between Google News and the German press.
“The German press insisted that Google News was stealing copyright by linking to articles using headlines and snippets. Therefore Google News (despite it carrying no advertising) should pay for the use of that copyright,” the Forbes editorial read. “They even managed to get German law changed to reflect that idea. At which point Google News simply stopped including the German media in its index. Traffic to all of those sites fell precipitately and they all begged Google to come back and yes, of course, don’t worry about paying us anything.”
“In case the proceedings against Google carry on without any satisfying decisions and the current anti-competitive behavior continues to exist, a regulation of the dominant online web search should be envisaged,” a position paper stated of the possible move against Google by the European Parliament, according to the Times of India.
[Photo via Pixabay]