We might soon be seeing two versions of Google’s search engine as the company has agreed to change the way it provides search results in Europe. The change is meant to address complaints the company is facing over charges that it was taking advantage of its dominance in Europe by favoring its own links and ads over its competitors.
The European Commission started the probe into the antitrust issue in 2010 when several companies, including Ciao which is owned by Microsoft, filed a complaint. After over two years Google has agreed to make changes to their search results in the European region. The search giant will now include links of their competitors and clearly label search results that point out to their services such as Google+ and YouTube. The proposed changes were submitted earlier this month and the European commission is now asking for input from Google’s competition before they will approve it.
If the changes are to be approved then Google will have to sign an agreement to make the changes stay in effect for 5 years. If the company breaks the agreement they will be fined 10 percent of their global revenue.
This concession of Google will allow it to avoid a guilty verdict and a huge fine. The company previously avoided antitrust charges in the US.
According to Antoine Colombani, a spokesman for the European Union’s competition commissioner, Joaquín Almunia, “Now we have concrete proposals on the table which meet the necessary standards for us to submit to the public and to seek feedback on.”
It is expected that this issue will be resolved soon with Colombani mentioning that it will be “after the summer vacation in the best-case scenario”.
The changes will only take effect on Google’s national domains while the global domain will remain the same. This means that the search results for the .fr or .uk domain of the company will be different from the .com domain.