Google on Wednesday made the first changes to its shopping comparison service integrated into its internet search engine in the aftermath of a record antitrust fine issued to the company by the antitrust watchdog of the European Union. The Mountain View, California-based tech giant is now allowing rivals to bid for its top ad space in the shopping section of Google Search results which was previously reserved for the firm's own service. The featured spots are being sold by Google Shopping itself, with Google's unit now being expected to act just like its rivals and bid for ad space alongside alternative platforms, a company spokesperson said, as reported by Bloomberg.
The idea behind the latest move is for the firm to revamp its practices which were deemed monopolistic by competent officials in the European Union, reorganizing the way it operates in an effort to have its internet search engine start treating its price comparison service just like it does its rivals. Google Shopping is now set to participate in online ad space auctions alongside other platforms, with this change being introduced three days before Google's deadline for ceasing all anti-competitive behavior. The firm was under the thread of paying daily fines amounting to up to five percent of its revenue if it failed to act on the European Commission's order and has previously implied that the political bloc was too vague when giving its demands and definitions of monopolistic behavior. The Alphabet-owned company claimed that its online shopping service is an integral part of Google Search and not a separate product competing in another market, with the Commission ultimately dismissing that argument.
EU Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager was reserved in regards to the latest turn of events, stating that competent officials are yet to review Google's move and decide whether it guarantees a competitive market for digital price comparison platforms. Google is also on a probation period of sorts for the time being, being required to regularly report to the EU in regards to its practices aimed at ensuring a fair market which it dominates. The company's first report is expected in early 2018, whereas Google is simultaneously appealing the decision which forced it to change its flagship product.