EU antitrust regulators have asked Google’s rivals if the internet search giant unfairly demotes local search competitors, according to a questionnaire seen by Reuters.
Google has been fined a total €6.76 billion (US$7.7 billion) in the last 17 months for favoring its comparison shopping service and for using its dominant Android mobile operating system to reinforce its search engine market power.
The EU competition authority’s interest in local search services followed a complaint by US search and advertising company Yelp and rivals in the travel, restaurant, and accommodation industries.
It sent questionnaires to Google rivals last month, asking for details of the company’s practices and the impact on competing services between January 2012 to December 2017.
Regulators also wanted to know if rivals experienced an impact in the operation of their local services as a result of major search algorithm changes by Google, including the introduction of its Panda 4.0 algorithm.