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Parliamentary questions
PDF 42kWORD 22k
13 March 2019
P-001336-19
Question for written answer P-001336-19
to the Commission
Rule 130
Ramon Tremosa i Balcells (ALDE)

 Subject:  Google Shopping antitrust case: Google's latest commitments regarding ‘rival links’ since its 2013-2014 proposals during the term of Commissioner Almunia
 Answer in writing 

Google is to give greater prominence to rivals(1) in certain specialised searches. Online directories and job sites such as Yelp and Monster will appear higher up on Google Search result pages in the EEA while the company tests the changes.(2)

The Commission has said that its 2017 decision(3) should provide a framework for resolving concerns over other Google Search services and notably includes a requirement for the company to ensure equal treatment(4) between its own services and those of rivals on its search results pages.(5)

The Google proposals approved by Commissioner Almunia were eventually rejected because the rival links solution offered by Google in 2013-2014(6) (7) did not do enough(8) to halt the diversion of traffic to Google’s own search services.(9)

1. Can the Commission say if tests of the latest changes proposed by Google have shown positive results in terms of the ranking of rivals in search results and whether tests were also carried out on mobile devices?

2. How are Google’s latest proposals regarding the display of rival search results different from those proposed during Almunia’s term?

The objective is for consumers to see alternatives to Google’s own services when they run certain specialised searches and to see more diverse search results on the first page of Google Search results (in particular on mobile screens).

3. In that respect, what is the Commission’s assessment of the ‘Focus On The User’ concept?

(1)https://twitter.com/UGambini/status/1105793888462213126/photo/1
(2)https://twitter.com/UGambini/status/1105793888462213126/photo/1
(3)http://europa.eu/rapid/press-release_IP-17-1784_en.htm
(4)https://ec.europa.eu/commission/commissioners/2014-2019/vestager/announcements/how-competition-can-build-better-market_en
(5)http://europa.eu/rapid/press-release_IP-17-1784_en.htm
(6)http://www.foundem.co.uk/The_Return_of_the_Undead_Auction.pdf
(7)http://www.foundem.co.uk/Foundem_Google_Timeline.pdf
(8)https://www.theregister.co.uk/2013/05/14/google_proposal_to_eu_criticised_by_foundem/
(9)http://www.searchneutrality.org/

Last updated: 3 April 2019Legal notice