On Friday 21, the Wall Street Journal reported that The European Commission (EC) is expanding their antitrust probe of Google. At this point, the EC is in their late game of its vertical search inquiry and has filed formal charges. At this point, Google has until August 31 to rebut. This all comes down to the investigation of Google’s management of the Android operating system.
The WSJ report said that the EC is now investigating whether or not Google “abuses its dominance in advertising contracts with website operators and copies content from rival sites.” In this case, the investigation is trying to find out if Google is preventing online publishers from using rival advertising systems on their sites. This was originally investigated in Europe back in 2010.
Another question that the EC is asking is concerning “scraping.” Is Google “coping” content from others for their own advantage? This issue was brought up a number of years ago when Google indexed third-party reviews, and then incorporated them into their mapping or other local results. This scraping came as part of the US Federal Trade Commission antitrust investigation and settlement, but Google stopped indexing reviews prior to the settlement.
For more information on the European antitrust probe of Google, check out the Original news article by Greg Sterling.