Google fined $21 million in India for 'search bias'

09 February, 2018, 08:23 | Author: Charlene Valdez
  • Competition Commission of India imposes Rs 135 crore penalty on Google for bias in search results

Complaints in India were lodged against Google in 2012, including by online matrimonial site Bharat Matrimony and the nonprofit consumer protection group Consumer Unity and Trust Society. The latest is by India and involves Google Search allegedly abusing its dominant position in the marketplace.

To view the full article, register now. "Besides, it was also found that Google has provided a further link in such commercial units which leads users to its specialised search result page (Google Flight) resulting in unfair imposition upon the users of general search services as well", the statement said.

A Google spokesperson told Reuters that they are reviewing CCI's "concerns".

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"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 CCI said in its order.

The European Union has slapped 2.4 billion euro fine on Google for manipulating its search engine results to favour its new shopping service.

The fine is five percent of the revenue generated by the company's Indian operations, with Google needing to deposit the fee within 60 days of today's rulings.

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This, the CCI said, was in contravention of Section 4 (2)(a)(i) of India's 2002 Competition Act.

On the basis of the probe report submitted by the Director General, the CCI broadly looked at four aspects - whether Google biases its search results, whether it imposes unfair conditions on advertisers, whether the company's distribution and intermediation agreements restrict competition.

The Google spokesperson said the company has always focused on innovating to support the evolving needs of users. 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. Exhibiting a self-imposed regulatory forbearance from scrutinizing product designs in ascertaining anti-trust violations, CCI noted in its order that product design is an important and integral dimension of competition, undue intervention in designs of SERP can affect legitimate product improvements.

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