EU antitrust regulators have called for GoogleRivals if the internet search giant unfairly bounces off local search competitors, according to a questionnaire viewed by Reuters, a move that could lead to a fourth case against the Alphabet unit.
Google has been fined a total of 6.76 trillion euros ($ 7.7 trillion) in the last 17 months for favoring its comparison shopping service and for using its dominant Android mobile operating system to bolster its power in the market. search engines.
The European Commission, which took over the world’s most popular internet search engine for these two anti-competitive practices, is closing a third case involving Google’s AdSense advertising service.
The EU competition authority’s interest in local search services came after a complaint from the US search and advertising company Yelp and its rivals in the travel, restaurant and accommodation industries.
Last month, he sent questionnaires to Google’s rivals, requesting details about the company’s practices and the impact on competing services between January 2012 and December 2017.
Regulators also wanted to know if rivals experienced an impact on the operation of their local services as a result of major changes to Google’s search algorithm, including the introduction of its Panda 4.0 algorithm.
Introduced in 2014, this algorithm determines what appears in Google search results.
Businesses were also asked whether Google’s introduction of Local Universal or One Box had a substantial impact on their local search services.
Local Universal is geared towards hotel ads, while One Box, which is information and images summarized in a box, is a tool for local businesses to gain more visibility in Google search results.
The Commission asked if Google used content from rival local search services, such as reviews on Local Universal or One Box.
Google had no immediate comment.