Hardly a day passes where Google is not mentioned in the news in one capacity or another. However, there had been a slight upsurge in the coverage on Google over the last few days and weeks. This is laregely because the Mountain View giant are under extreme pressure in Europe, for what is claimed to be ‘violations in fairness’ to how the search company operates aspects of their business. The accusations being levelled at Google from the EU, is that Google, have for a long time, being skewing their search results to show more favorable responses for their own services. In particular, for Google Shopping.
The actual original case has been years in the making, although, the momentum has built far more in recent months with the climax occurring last week when the EU regulators made it clear, that they are bringing charges to the company on the matter. It has long been speculated that the recent surge in activity with the case has been fuelled by third parties, who would like to see Google hit with massive fines. In particular, there has been widespread speculation that a lot of the driving forces behind the latest surge is from other U.S. companies. For instance, it was recently reported that Microsoft are thought to have been heavily active in the process and even funding lobby groups to draw more attention to the issue.
Well, a new report by Reuters today states that there are nineteen specific complaints which form the basis of the recent European Union’s decision to act. The information comes to Reuters from sources “familiar with the matter” and includes a number of both smaller and larger companies, European and U.S. companies and even some who have no direct involvement with Google Shopping. According to the information, eJustic (French legal search engine), Foundem (UK price comparison site who were the basis of the original complaint), VfT (German business listings site), VDZ and BDZV (Germany magazine and newspaper publishers) are all complainants in the case. As are a number of travel and mapping based sites include Euro-Cities, Hot-map, Expedia, Odigeo and TripAdvisor. Not to mention, a number of other price comparison sites including Visual-Meta, Twenga, Moneysupermarket and Nextag. Likewise, an Italian news aggregator site nnpt.it and Elfvoetbal (a Dutch football site) are also listed. While closing out the list is a lobbying group ICOMP, an anonymous complainant, Yelp and of course, Microsoft. While most companies did not respond to the claims of their involvement when asked by Reuters, a few did, including Yelp, Expedia, Foundem, ICOMP, Hot-Map and Euro-Cities.