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European consumer group goes after Google

Wants a strong stance against the search giant
Thu Mar 29 2012, 10:13

A EUROPEAN CONSUMER WATCHDOG GROUP is worried that Google has too much influence over internet searchers and has written a letter to the European Commission (EC) with its concerns.

The group, called Beuc, or the European Consumer Organisation, sent its letter earlier this month, but it went public this week. A report (PDF) supports the letter.

The letter comes as the EC is considering Google's effect on competition and is addressed to the Competition Commissioner, Joaquin Almunia.

"We are concerned that the dominant search engine, Google, may have abused its position in the search market to direct users to its own services and secondly to reduce the visibility of competing websites and services... Given its role as gatekeeper to the internet, Google is in a unique position to restrict access to its competitors and direct traffic to its own services," said the letter that is signed by Beuc director general Monique Goyens.

These concerns mirror those of the EC, so the letter could be well timed.

"We expect the European Commission to take a strong stance and protect the principle of search neutrality according to which search results should be impartial and based solely on their relevance to consumers' queries," it added.

"It is important that the European Commission exercises its powers to sanction dominant companies who abuse their position to the detriment of consumer welfare."

Google has not yet responded to our request for comment. µ


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