Google Shopping to separate from search engine to appease EU

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Google was fined €2.4bn in June
Credit
Reuters

Fill 1 Google was fined €2.4bn in June Credit Reuters

European Union regulators in June slapped Google with a record $2.9 billion fine for abusing its dominance in online search to promote its own shopping services site over that of rivals.

It is understood that of 300 price comparison sites, only about a dozen have so far agreed to take part in auctions for the advertising spots at the top of its search page.

The shopping service will also operate as a separate business, seeking to make a profit, albeit it will continue to be part of Google's Alphabet parent company. The company has until 28 September to comply with the European Commission's order to stop favouring its own shopping service in Google search results.

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Google, a unit of U.S. firm Alphabet, has until September 28 to halt this anti-competitive practice or face a penalty up to 5% of its average daily worldwide turnover.

The overhaul came after Google was hit by a record antitrust fine of $2.8 billion over the summer for unfairly favoring its own service over those of its rivals. EU's executive branch spent seven years investigating complaints made by other price-comparison services that claimed they had lost 90% of their traffic.

In slapping the massive fine on the company, the regulators also gave Google 90 days to ensure that rival online shopping services get as much prominence in search results as Google gives to its own links.

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He said it's hard to tell exactly how the changes will affect search advertising revenue for Google, but there should be an upside.

The company said Google Shopping and its competitors would now bid on equal terms for ads in the shopping box.

Bloomberg reports that Google is aiming to comply with European Commission demands to reform the way it promotes its own products on its service. Here Google is now letting anyone bid for the ads it displays at the top of product related search results - rather than, as was the case before, displaying links to products that merchants had paid it to display at the top of search results. But Google's strategy for its comparison shopping service wasn't just about attracting customers by making its product better than those of its rivals.

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The Commission said it will "closely monitor" Google's compliance with its decision and the search giant is "under an obligation" to keep the organization informed of its actions by submitted reports every four months. Google presented its plans to the commission at the end of August but did not make them public until Wednesday.

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