Competition Commission of India fines Google for search bias
Competition Commission of India fines Google for search bias
09 February, 2018, 08:23
The order was in response to a 2012 complaint filed against Google by Matrimony.com Limited and Consumer Unity & Trust Society.
It said that CCI found prominent display of commercial flight unit by Google on SERP with link to Google's specialised search options, services (flight) in contravention of some of the provisions of Competition Act.
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Google is the most dominant search engine at the moment, and over the years, we've started to see Google promote its own services in search results.
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Additionally, the press release includes that the CCI did not find any violation from Google with regards to its specialized search design (OneBoxes), AdWords, and online intermediation and distribution agreements.
A Google spokesperson called the CCI's concerns "narrow" in a statement.
The Indian competition regulator said in its order, "Google was found to be indulging in practices of search bias and by doing so, it causes harm to its competitors as well as to users". The box, which advertisers can pay to be featured in, is usually displayed prominently in Google's search results when a user searches for a flight or airline through the main search engine. For this case, the Competition Commission of India (CCI) considered markets in India for online general web search services and for online search advertising services as the relevant ones. This section pertains to abuse of dominant position. It said through a majority order that the penalty is being imposed on Google for "infringing anti-trust conduct". The body stated that this could have a negative effect on the economic welfare and economic growth, especially in countries relying on high growth such as India. It noted in its order that product design is an important and integral dimension of competition, and undue intervention in designs of SERP can affect legitimate product improvements. Further, the CCI said it has examined the issues within the permissible parameters in technology markets.
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