Google’s New European “Antitrust” Search Results: Here’s What They’ll Look Like

EU Flag I've found documents associated with the Google-EU settlement proposal that offer mock-ups of how the new, regulated SERPs will look. It's very interesting and greatly clarifies the settlement terms and how they will be implemented practically. These mockups look quite different (and less "disruptive") than what I imagined. There are three basic scenarios: where Google sees direct monetization from the SERP, indirect monetization in the vertical or no monetization (e.g., News in Europe). In each case the presentation and the rules will be slightly different. The screens below are all mock- [...]


EU Goes Public With Google Antitrust Proposals, “Market Test” FAQs

google-eu-featured The EU released documents this morning that detail Google's antitrust settlement proposals and explain the Competition Commission's position on various aspects of the investigation. First here's what the EU says Google has proposed: Google offers for a period of 5 years to: (i) - label promoted links to its own specialised search services so that users can distinguish them from natural web search results, - clearly separate these promoted links from other web search results by clear graphical features (such as a frame), and - display links to three rival specialised search services c [...]


Is Google’s Antitrust Settlement Offer To Europe Dead On Arrival?

google-eu-featured The European Union has "accepted" Google's formal antitrust settlement proposal -- subject to "market testing." As a practical matter, that means EU Competition Commissioner Joaquín Almunia is circulating it among Google's critics and competitors for reaction. However, there has already been plenty of (negative) reaction based on the information that came out last week in news reports. That leads to the question: is Google's settlement proposal dead on arrival? And if so, what will Almunia and the Europeans do? Is litigation inevitable? The issue that Google's competitors and critics ca [...]


Google’s EU Antitrust Settlement Includes Labeling, Mandatory Competitive Links And Third Party Enforcement

google-eu-featured The proposed terms of the Google antitrust settlement in Europe have started to come to light, first through a report in the Financial Times, and this weekend, in articles from the Wall Street Journal and New York Times. As anticipated, the primary "remedy" Google is offering involves labeling its own results to distinguish them from third-party publishers. Yet, there are some new twists and nuances that have not been discussed or disclosed before. They involve third-party enforcement and presentation of competitive links as alternatives to Google's own content. Apparently, the settle [...]


Google (Finally) Gives EU A Formal Settlement Proposal As UK Mapping Rival Files Anti-Competitive Suit

google-maps-iphone-icon Google has formally submitted its antitrust settlement proposal to the EU. Wait, didn't that happen weeks ago? Apparently, it did not. While the parties have been talking for months (seems like years), Bloomberg reported today that Google had "formalized" its settlement proposal to avoid potential fines and other penalties. EU Competition Commissioner Joaquin Almunia is now going to "market test" Google's proposal. What that means as a practical matter is that he will circulate the proposal among Google's critics and rivals for feedback. No doubt, they will be dissatisfied because Googl [...]


EU Leans Toward “Labeling” To Resolve Antitrust Claims Against Google

google-eu-featured Those hoping for aggressive regulation or changes in the way Google conducts its search business in Europe will likely be disappointed. A new interview with EU Competition Commissioner Joaquín Almunia hints at settlement proposals and remedies now being considered in the Google antitrust case. And, they will probably look a lot like what came out of the FTC earlier this year. The interview, published in a New York Times article triggered by the filing of a new antitrust complaint over Android, offers some insights into the state of settlement negotiations between Europe and Google. The [...]


Microsoft “Research” Discovers The Obvious In Renewed Anti-Trust Attack On Google

microsoft-google-fight-featured Did you know that the higher a site is listed in search results, the more traffic that site is likely to receive? If you're a search marketer, or anyone with a dose of common sense, you do. But Microsoft had research conducted to yet again prove this point, in an attempt to influence the ongoing EU antitrust review against Google. Microsoft's Hired Gun Does Research In a Microsoft blog post today, Susan Athey, a Microsoft consultant and professor of economics at Stanford University's Graduate School of Business, writes about how she worked with those from Microsoft's Bing search engine to c [...]


Google Adds Publisher Opt-Out Tool For Shopping, Flights, Hotels & Local Search

stop-signs-featured Don't want your content to be included in many of Google's vertical search services, such as Google Shopping or Google+ Local? Google's got a new tool for that, a result of its agreement earlier this year with the US Federal Trade Commission over anti-trust charges. Announced on the Google Webmaster Central Blog, the new tool is located within Google Webmaster Central and allows publishers to keep their content out of: Google Shopping Google+ Local Google Flights Google Hotels Google Advisor (financial product search) Oddly, several of these services only allow you to be inc [...]


Open Letter To EU Competition Commissioner Exerts Pressure For Tougher “Vertical Search” Settlement With Google

google-eu-featured Late last week, a group of Google critics, rivals and complainants sent an "open letter" to EU competition commissioner Joaquín Almunia asking him to focus on the "vertical search" or "search neutrality" dimensions of the Google antitrust case. The letter says, essentially, that of the "four areas of concern" raised by the EU over Google's business practices, this is the only issue that really matters. The letter asserts that the EU must address "Google’s search manipulation practices" in the form of "the systematic promotion of Google’s own services, and the systematic demotion [...]


Google Flight Search Takes Off Around The Globe

google-flight-search-featured Google's flight search tool had been limited to a few markets in the US. As such, it was of limited value. But last week, the company expanded flight search internationally to include 500 airports outside the US. (See postscript below below for correction.) Flight search can also be used by people in other countries -- UK, France, Italy, Spain or the Netherlands -- to do research and initiate trip planning. In addition, Flight Search now comes in eight languages: English, French, Italian, Spanish, Basque, Catalan, Galician and Dutch and features local currency. Perhaps the feature th [...]


Europeans Taking Sweet Time In Resolving Antitrust Case With Google

google-eu-featured Google's antitrust case in the US concluded in January, much to the dismay of companies that had been agitating for tough action by the FTC. It was seen as a near total victory for Google. Rivals quickly turned their attention to Europe in the hope that, unencumbered by some of the legal issues that inhibited US regulators, it would be willing to impose "meaningful" restraints on Google. There were some signals from EU Competition Commissioner Joaquin Almunia that Europe was going to take a firm stand on the vertical search or "search bias" issue. Google's alleged "search bias" towar [...]


Google Updates AdWords API Terms To Comply With FTC Antitrust Settlement

google-legal-cash-featured As part of its antitrust settlement with the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) in January, Google agreed to allow ad campaigns to be exported to third party ad networks using its API. Here's what Google said in a blog post at the time of the settlement earlier this year: Advertisers can already export their ad campaigns from Google AdWords. They will now be able to mix and copy ad campaign data within third-party services that use our AdWords API. The following is the relevant language from the FTC statement about the export of AdWords campaigns at the time of the antitrust settlement: Goog [...]


Google Submits Formal European Antitrust Settlement Proposal

google-eu-featured Yesterday, right under the deadline, Google delivered its proposal to the European Commission (EC) in an effort to settle potential antitrust claims against the company and head off a formal enforcement action. The proposal was required to concretely address four "areas of concern" identified by the EC. Briefly, those involve "search bias" and "diversion of traffic," improper use of third party content and reviews by Google, third party publisher exclusivity agreements and portability of ad campaigns to other search platforms. Google essentially addressed three of the four areas in its sett [...]


As Google Evolves To Satisfy User Demands, Others Are Necessarily Marginalized

Google mobile app logo While it might not get off quite as easily in Europe, Google definitely "dodged a bullet" at the FTC, which recently concluded its antitrust investigation and didn't ask the company to make any changes in the way it presents search results. That was a major disappointment to Google competitors, critics and other third party publishers, which have become alarmed by what they see as a virtual land grab by Mountain View. The now-familiar lament goes: once Google was simply a way to organize and discover information, to get people from A to B. However, over the past several years Google has bec [...]


EU Antitrust Chief: Google “Diverting Traffic” & Will Be Forced To Change

google-eu-featured While saying he's "still investigating," the head of the European Union's antitrust regulatory body has told the Financial Times that he's convinced Google is "diverting traffic" and that it will be forced to change its results. From the FT interview: “We are still investigating, but my conviction is [Google] are diverting traffic,” Mr. Almunia told the Financial Times, referring to Google’s preferential treatment of its own vertical search services. That's Joaquin Almunia, who has been leading the EU's investigation into charges that Google is acting anti-competitively with it [...]


After Years Of Anti-Competitive Complaints Foundem Sues Google In UK Court

Foundem Bloomberg reports Google is yet again being sued, this time by UK's shopping search engine, for alleged anti-competitive practices. This comes a week after the FTC ruled that there is not enough evidence to prove search bias by Google in their search results. Foundem is seeking damages for revenue lost as a result of Google’s “anti- competitive conduct,” lawyers for Foundem said. “Since a lack of original content is an inherent characteristic of all search services, including Google’s own, that reason cannot justify” Google's actions, Foundem said in the U.K. lawsuit. The [...]


From Praise To Outrage: Reactions To Google’s Antitrust Settlement

Google & FTC The post-mortem analysis of Google's antitrust settlement happened very quickly yesterday and this morning with some journalists and analysts concluding that factors other than the law were responsible behind the scenes. For example, Politico asserts it was largely "a calculated and expensive charm offensive" (lobbying) that drove the outcome yesterday. An even more absurd analysis argues that Google is essential to US foreign policy and thus the FTC let the company off the hook. While Google lobbying may have had an impact, in reality the the facts and the law weren't on the FTC's sid [...]


FTC Closes Google Antitrust Case: “Law Protects Competition Not Competitors,” Not Enough Evidence To Prove “Search Bias”

google-legal-law-featured After 19 months of investigation, political maneuvering, lobbying and intense speculation the FTC has closed its antitrust investigation of Google. The outcome is almost exactly as we reported yesterday and it's probably legally correct. Google comes away largely unscathed from the process. Once can hear the celebrations getting started in Mountain View. The settlement has three components. Henceforth there will be no involuntary scraping of third party content for inclusion in "specialized" (vertical) Google search results (the Yelp case). Google will also enable easier exporting of AdW [...]


Report: Google Antitrust Settlement Coming Tomorrow, Opponents Frustrated With FTC

google-legal-cash-featured Much is already known about the contours of the likely antitrust settlement between Google and the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC). The terms of the settlement were previously "leaked" (intentionally or otherwise) a couple of weeks ago and critics quickly berated the FTC as having "rolled over." Broadly speaking, the rumors were that Google would make certain "voluntary changes" and avoid a consent decree (mostly) or any formal finding of antitrust violations. The settlement was supposedly to be announced in mid-to-late December but was delayed amid harsh criticism the FTC received follow [...]


FTC & EU Settlements On Google Anti-Trust Issues To Happen Next Month?

google-eu-featured The European Union appears to be closer to agreement with Google about anti-trust concerns relating to search, and action seems likely to happen in January. Meanwhile, the expected US Federal Trade Commission ruling that was supposed to happen before the end of this year now looks delayed into at least next month. Multiple sources are reporting that the EU and Google are nearing an agreement, with the matter to be settled in January. From Bloomberg: “I have decided to continue with the process towards reaching an agreement” to settle the investigation, [EU Competition Commissioner [...]


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