Today, the European Commission has announced that they’ll continue to review complaints about Google’s search and search advertising. The European Commission (EC) investigation will look at allegations of:
- Organic bias: Google’s accused of giving preferential treatment to its own vertical search results at the expense of other providers — and intentionally lowering rankings of other sites.
- Paid bias: Google’s accused of lowering the quality score on sponsored links of competing vertical search services.
- Exclusivity: Google’s accused of trying to shut out competing search tools by telling advertising partners that they can’t place certain types of competing ads on their websites.
- Portability restrictions: Google’s accused of restricting ability to use data on competing online advertising platforms.
“We respect their process and will continue to work closely with Commission to answer their questions,” Google said.
Answering users’ queries accurately and quickly is our number one goal. Sometimes the best, most relevant answer to a query is our traditional “ten blue links”, and sometimes it’s a news article, sports score, stock quote, video, or a map. Today, when you type in “weather in London” or “15 grams in ounces” you get the answers directly (often before you even hit Enter). In the future, we’ll need to answer much more complex questions just as fast and as clearly. We believe ads are information too, which’s why we work so hard to ensure that the advertisements you see are directly relevant to what you’re looking for.
We’re always clear when we’ve been paid for promoting a product or service. Before we launched Google, many search engines took money for inclusion in their results without making that clear to users. We’ve never done that and we always distinguished advertising content from our organic search results. As we experiment with new ad formats and types of content, we promise to continue to be transparent about payments.