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EU Fines Google $1.7 bn for Unfair Online Ad Rules

This meant that publishers were prohibited from placing any search adverts from competitors on their search results pages

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The Google name is displayed outside the company's office in London, Britain. VOA

The European Union’s antitrust regulators on Wednesday fined Google 1.49 billion euros ($1.7 billion) for abusing its dominance in the online search market by blocking rivals.

Google has abused its market dominance by imposing a number of restrictive clauses in contracts with third-party websites which prevented Google’s rivals from placing their search adverts on these websites, the European Commission (EC) said in a statement.

“Today the Commission has fined Google 1.49 billion euros for illegal misuse of its dominant position in the market for the brokering of online search adverts,” EC Commissioner Margrethe Vestager said.

It is the third EU fine for Google in just two years.

“Google has cemented its dominance in online search adverts and shielded itself from competitive pressure by imposing anti-competitive contractual restrictions on third-party websites. This is illegal under EU antitrust rules,” Vestager said.

The Commission said the fine which is equivalent to 1.29 per cent of Google’s turnover in 2018 takes account of the duration and gravity of the infringement.

“The misconduct lasted over 10 years and denied other companies the possibility to compete on the merits and to innovate – and consumers the benefits of competition,” Vestager said.

Websites such as newspaper websites, blogs or travel sites aggregators often have a search function embedded.

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Google CEO Sundar Pichai speaks at the Google I/O conference in Mountain View, California.

When a user searches using this search function, the website delivers both search results and search adverts, which appear alongside the search result.

Through AdSense for Search, Google provides these search adverts to owners of “publisher” websites.

Google is an intermediary, like an advertising broker, between advertisers and website owners that want to profit from the space around their search results pages.

Therefore, AdSense for Search works as an online search advertising intermediation platform.

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Google was by far the strongest player in online search advertising intermediation in the European Economic Area (EEA), with a market share above 70 per cent from 2006 to 2016.

Google’s provision of online search advertising intermediation services to the most commercially important publishers took place via agreements that were individually negotiated.

The Commission reviewed hundreds of such agreements in the course of its investigation and found that starting in 2006, Google included exclusivity clauses in its contracts.

This meant that publishers were prohibited from placing any search adverts from competitors on their search results pages, the European Commission said. (IANS)

Next Story

ICC Cricket World Cup Becomes “Top Trending Query” on Google Search in 2019

The major news event related searches were dominated by the Lok Sabha Elections, Chandrayaan 2, and Article 370

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World Cup
Apart from ICC Cricket World Cup Films like Kabir Singh, Gully Boy, Mission Mangal, Joker and Marvel's blockbusters -- Avengers: Endgame and Captain Marvel also featured in the overall list. Pixabay

ICC Cricket World Cup was the top trending query on Google Search in 2019 in India, the company announced on Wednesday while announcing its “Year in Search” results, which highlight stand-out moments in Search across news, sporting events, personalities, movies, and songs.

Recapping the trends that stoked the Indian users’ imagination in 2019, Google India has compiled the list named “Year in Search”.

The top 10 list of trending search terms this year included Lok Sabha elections followed by the interest that surrounded the launch of Chandrayaan 2.

“Films like Kabir Singh, Gully Boy, Mission Mangal, Joker and Marvel’s blockbusters — Avengers: Endgame and Captain Marvel also featured in the overall list,” the company said in a statement.

IAF Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman topped the list in the most searched personalities this year followed by Lata Mangeshkar and Yuvraj Singh.

This year also witnessed a unique entry of the Internet singing sensation Ranu Mondal.

Sporting searches were dominated by the Cricket World Cup followed by the Pro Kabaddi League. Other international sporting spectacles like the Wimbledon, Copa América, and the tennis tournaments (including the Australian, French and US Open) were also widely searched.

The major news event related searches were dominated by the Lok Sabha Elections, Chandrayaan 2, and Article 370.

World Cup
ICC Cricket World Cup was the top trending query on Google Search in 2019 in India, the company announced on Wednesday while announcing its “Year in Search” results, which highlight stand-out moments in Search across news, sporting events, personalities, movies, and songs. Pixabay

Other important news events including the Maharashtra and Haryana state assembly elections were also widely searched.

The list also saw a mix of both local and global news moments such as the Pulwama attack, Cyclone Fani, the Ayodhya verdict, and the Amazon forest fire.

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Some of the most-interesting search terms were centered around “How to..”, and “What is…”.

On local searches around ‘Near me…’, the top queries revolved around “Dance classes near me” followed by “Salons near me”. Interestingly, a pertinent entry in this particular list in 2019 was “Air quality Index near me”. (IANS)