Finally, an antitrust case against Google in the European Union may be coming to an end. For the past three years, Google has been involved in an investigation, with its competitors claiming that the search giant has been abusing its position as the most popular search engine.
According to its competitors -- including Microsoft -- Google has only been showing its own products in search results, meaning that competitors have been pushed aside. New concessions from Google may cause the search engine to include logos and introductory text for its competitors when a person looks for various online services.
The Center Of Trouble: Google Products
The European Union's crusade against Google can be boiled down to a few basic complaints made by Google's competitors against the company. EU antitrust commissioner Joaquin Almunia has been at the head of the investigation, and has pushed aside -- on the behalf of the competitors -- the search giant's proposals up to this point.
Almunia's main concerns regarding Google's search results include Google's display of its own products without making it known to a user, and the removal of third-party content from Google search without the owner's permission. Outside of the core search result complaints made against Google, there were also some concerns regarding Google Adsense/Adwords.
As of right now, Google does not allow advertisers to port their campaigns onto rival search ad platforms, nor does the company allow publishers to display advertising from Google competitors on their sites.
Now that Google has agreed to change its policies on its search and advertising policies, Almunia is hopeful that a deal may finally go through and the antitrust investigation will end.
Google has already stated in previous plans that it will completely get rid of the advertising regulations that have been a topic of concern. For the most part, the deal hinges on whether or not Google will do enough to fix its search results.
As to Google's removal of content from search results, the company has said that it will introduce an opt-out option that allows content creators to keep their content on the search engine indefinitely. Although this was offered in previous proposals, the company has since refined its opt-out plan to ensure that those who chose to opt-out will not be penalized for doing so.
Since no one seems to think that Google can operate entirely by itself, the proposal now includes an "independent trustee" to ensure that Google plays by the new rules once they are accepted.
Even though Google and Almunia seem to be happy with the latest proposal, the case started with Google's competitors and will end with them, as well. So, if for some reason they do not agree to Google's latest plan, the antitrust case will forge onward.