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EU to call for search to be ‘unbundled’ from Google

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Google is likely to face calls for it’s dominant search engine to be broken off into a separate company as a result of ongoing anti-trust investigations in Europe.

According to a Financial Times report, the European Parliament wants Google Search to be broken off from the firm’s other commercial interests.

A draft motion seen by the FT says an “unbundling [of] search engines from other commercial services” could be one way to tackle Google’s dominant position.

According to the report, the European People’s Party and the Socialists - the two main forces in the European Parliament - has given the motion its backing, while a vote could take place as soon as Thursday.

“Unbundling cannot be excluded,” said German MEP Andreas Schwab.

Although the European Parliament does not have the power to break up Google, it could influence legislation made by the commission investigating Google’s search dominance.

Google has been accused of skewing rankings and favouring its own products (like Play Store listings) to the detriment of competitors within Google Search listings.

European governments have long sought a solution to the Google problem, but such a resolution is unlikely to be met favourably by the US tech giant.

Just recently, the company agreed to a request from a group of German publishers to strip back Google News listings to a headline, omitting the thumbnail and story extract.

The company’s other activities in Europe, such as Street View photography and the public Wi-Fi data its cars collect, have been heavily criticised.

Google has so far declined to comment on the report.

Read more: Google Nexus 9 review

Via: The Next Web

Prem Desai

November 23, 2014, 12:12 pm

Have the Europratts not got any real issues to solve??

Google search is dominant because it is good - not perfect, but good.

'Google' is now part of the Oxford dictionary and with good reason.

If people don't like it, they're free to use other search engines.

Why shouldn't Google promote their own services on their own search engine? Which search engine doesn't?

How is unbundling the search into a separate company going to make any real difference?

Same with street view and privacy, etc people whinge and moan about it but everybody bloody uses it .... Because it is fantastic ...!

PGrGr

November 24, 2014, 10:46 am

I too, am generally pro-Google. They do, by and large, provide an excellent service, but that doesn't mean they're perfect, and it doesn't mean the world wouldn't be better with a bit more competition involved. This question comes down to a debate about the moral right of a company to a monopoly position, but to answer just a couple of your points, which I believe to be ill-informed:

"If people don't like it, they're free to use other search engines."

As I understand it, the European Parliament's objection is not with a lack of search engine choice. Their problem is that Google is able to use their massive dominance in search to cross subsidise lots of other services, which prevents competition in those areas. Its the cross subsidy that's the big problem.

"How is unbundling the search into a separate company going to make any real difference?"

There is a successful precedent here. BT used to have a monopoly with its copper network until it, too, was split up. Now, although they still own the copper, they have to grant access to competing providers. The result is that we now have a healthy ecosystem of competing broadband and phone providers, prices have come down and service levels have gone up. More importantly, people have real choice about their providers.

Pg

November 24, 2014, 2:36 pm

What relevance does this have to the story:
"Just recently, the company agreed to a
request from a group of German publishers to strip back Google News
listings to a headline, omitting the thumbnail and story extract."

They wanted Google to pay for each listing, as soon as Google stripped it back they were whining that the amount of traffic their sites were receiving was down and blaming Google for it due to Google doing what they asked them to do. Not relevant.

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