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European Union Regulators Commission Slaps Google With An Antitrust Penalty of $1.68 Billion

"Today's decision is about how Google abused its dominance to stop websites using brokers other than the AdSense platform"

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European Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager speaks during a media conference at EU headquarters in Brussels, March 20, 2019. VOA

European Union regulators have hit Google with a 1.49 billion euro ($1.68 billion) fine for abusing its dominant role in online advertising.

It’s the third time the commission has slapped Google with an antitrust penalty, following multibillion-dollar fines resulting from separate probes into two other parts of the Silicon Valley giant’s business.

The EU’s competition commissioner, Margrethe Vestager, announced the results of the long-running probe of Google’s AdSense advertising business at a news conference in Brussels on Wednesday.

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Google “prevented its rivals from having a chance to innovate and to compete in the market on their merits,” Vestager said. “Advertisers and website owners, they had less choice and likely faced higher prices that would be passed on to consumers.” VOA

“Today’s decision is about how Google abused its dominance to stop websites using brokers other than the AdSense platform,” Vestager said.

The commission found that Google and its parent company, Alphabet, breached EU antitrust rules by imposing restrictive clauses in contracts with websites that used AdSense, preventing Google rivals from placing their ads on these sites.

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Microsoft filed an EU antitrust complaint about the service in 2009 and the EU Commission formally launched its probe in 2016, although it said at the time that Google had already made some changes to allow affected customers more freedom to show competing ads. Pixabay

Google “prevented its rivals from having a chance to innovate and to compete in the market on their merits,” Vestager said. “Advertisers and website owners, they had less choice and likely faced higher prices that would be passed on to consumers.”

AdSense is an older Google product that lets web publishers such as bloggers place text ads on their websites, with the content of the ads based on results from search functions on their sites. Microsoft filed an EU antitrust complaint about the service in 2009 and the EU Commission formally launched its probe in 2016, although it said at the time that Google had already made some changes to allow affected customers more freedom to show competing ads.

Also Read: Intel and Cray Collaborate With U.S. Government, Aims for Nation’s Fastest Computer

Last year, Vestager hit the company with a record 4.34 billion euro ($5 billion) fine following an investigation into its Android operating system. In 2017, she slapped Google with a 2.42 billion euro fine in a case involving its online shopping search results. (VOA)

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Google Making it Easier to Monitor the Battery Life of Wireless Earbuds in Android

Without divulging further details, the company said the update to Fast Pair would be arriving "later this year", the report noted

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FILE - A woman walks past the logo for Google at the China International Import Expo in Shanghai, Nov. 5, 2018. VOA

Google is aiming at making it easier to monitor the battery life of wireless earbuds in Android, with the next big update to its Bluetooth Fast Pair feature.

The search engine giant is adding a new interface in Android Q for managing Fast Pair-enabled headphones with device management features, Google Assistant settings, battery life information and links to third-party management apps all in one place, the Verge reported on Friday.

In October 2017, Google launched the Fast Pair technology to compete with Apple’s quick AirPods pairing. Google’s technology uses Bluetooth Low Energy and an Android phone’s location to automatically discover Bluetooth accessories in close proximity and then automatically connects with a tap.

As part of a major feature update, the search engine giant is planning to add deeper support for truly wireless headphones.

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Huawei smartphones are seen in front of displayed Google Play logo in this illustration picture, May 20, 2019. VOA

Headphones that support fast pair would eventually be able to show individual battery life data for the case and each earbud independently, as well as pop-up that information when opening or closing the case.