Wednesday, July 24, 2024

Google rolls out shopping ad changes to appease European Union antitrust regulators

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SAN FRANCISCO — Google has begun allowing comparison shopping competitors to bid for advertising at the top of search results in Europe in an attempt to appease European Union concerned that the tech giant is stifling competition there.

The changes are part of Google’s effort to comply with an EU antitrust order that fined the Silicon Valley $2.71 billion. 

At issue: Complaints from competitors that Google’s search engine gives preference to Google’s shopping service. The EU ordered Google to stop promoting its own shopping search results over others and to make changes by Thursday or face additional penalties. Google is appealing the decision.

Google says its shopping service will be run as a stand-alone unit.

It’s unclear whether these steps will be sufficient to avoid additional penalties. Google had until Thursday to comply with the EU order.

In a statement, the European Commission said Google is required to give “equal treatment” to rival comparison shopping services and the commission will closely monitor whether Google is complying with that requirement.

“It is up to Google to achieve and implement that equal treatment,” the statement said. “It would be premature at this stage for the Commission to take any definite positions on Google’s plans.”

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