The European Parliament voted in favour of separating search engines from other commercial activities in an antitrust law brought to it by Google rivals in Europe. This vote is non-binding by itself as the ultimate decision will rest with EU competition commissioner Margrethe Vestager.
As expected US politicians have expressed outrage at this vote with some seeing this as an attack on Google. Google currently controls about 90% of the total internet search in the Europe area and has over 60% of the total global search market.
You’ll recall earlier in the year when European authorities asked Google to implement the “right to forget” service in the Europe area which means the internet search giant cannot hold links and recent search results for you if you don’t want it.
According to the BBC, here are four areas Google’s Europe rivals asked the commission to investigate;
• The manner in which Google displays its own vertical search services compared with other, competing products
• How Google copies content from other websites – such as restaurant reviews – to include within its own services
• The exclusivity Google has to sell advertising around the search terms people use
• Restrictions on advertisers from moving their online ad campaigns to rival search engines
The motion brought by Andreas Schwab, a German Christian Democrat, and Spanish liberal Ramon Tremosa stated that the best way to resolve the row with the net giant was to separate search engines from other commercial services thereby ensuring a level playing field for rivals in Europe.
What the EU commissioner would do about this is entirely up to her but we can just watch as events unfold.