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Google tweaks search after EU competition scrutiny

image copyrightGoogle
image captionGoogle previously argued that its shopping services were fairer than they had been before

Google has said it will make changes to how search results are displayed within the EU, in response to scrutiny it has faced over competition practices.

EU officials had criticised the firm for favouring its own price comparison results when answering search queries.

The tech giant said it would now direct users to other price comparison sites and merchants selling products.

It will also make it easier for Android users to select web browsers other than Google's own Chrome browser.

The changes to search mean that results from rival sites, such as TripAdvisor or Kelkoo, will become more prominent to avoid Google's own retail recommendations dominating.

Last year, rivals had complained to the European Commission (EC) that search results were unfairly prioritising Google's own shopping service over others.

Google made the adjustments shortly before a €1.49bn (£1.28bn) fine was handed down by European regulators on Wednesday.

This was also in relation to what officials called unfair competition activities: blocking ads from rivals offering alternative web search options.

Browser options

Android users will find it easier to choose a different web browser on their phones and tablets thanks to the other change announced.

Chrome comes pre-installed on Android devices, but users will now be asked directly if they would like to use another browser.

It comes a year after the EC fined Google €4.34bn (£3.72bn) for abusing its market position and making rivals' browsers less accessible.

"Now we'll also do more to ensure that Android phone owners know about the wide choice of browsers and search engines available to download to their phones," Google executive Kent Walker wrote in a blog.

"This will involve asking users of existing and new Android devices in Europe which browser and search apps they would like to use."

The BBC has contacted the EC for comment.

Related Topics

  • Online shopping
  • Google
  • European Union
  • Competition law

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