Google's Search-integrated Google Jobs tool and widget are drawing both support and complaints in equal measure, based on reports about letters sent to EU competition commissioner Margrethe Vestager and sources close to the matter.
Complaints about the service and widget generally stem from the placement of the search widget itself.
For clarity, the Jobs tool is a widget-linked service provided by Google that aggregates job listings from across the web. It shows up in Google search when users type in any job-related term and the keyword 'jobs'. Jobs associated with that appear, with links to where users can get more information or file an application.
Clicking on the "Jobs" link or the "more jobs" link in the widget takes that out to its own applet. Like other Google tools, that appears at the top of the page in its own clearly-separated material design 2.0 box.
In the EU German jobs website firms such as Berlin-based StepStone GmbH, StepStone, and others are opposed to the tool. The widget's placement that at the top of the page prevents traffic to smaller sites, the opposition says, making it illegal according to EU antitrust laws.
A full-blown investigation?
The complaints could also lead to the start of a formal investigation prior to Ms. Vestager leaving office on October 31. According to sources said to be "familiar" with the situation, the commissioner had previously been reviewing the company's job tool. Ms. Vestage has prepared an "intensive" handover of that inquiry for the next commissioner to take the office.
The latest companies to have filed complaints against Google include British site Best Jobs Online and German sites Intermedia and Jobindex. The companies are awaiting a response before filing formal complaints, although StepStone is said to be pursuing that route already.
The Jobs tool is not without supporters
Another concern for those opposed to Google's widget-based search tool is that Google will eventually place ads on the page and use the information to redirect any revenue from the tool back to itself. That hasn't stopped the tool from gaining plenty of support since it launched.
Setting aside that Google has continuously improved the tool and bolstered its use to as many as 120 million user clicks in the US in June, the tool is not only made for Google's benefit. As it stands, the Jobs tool acts as a central hub for job search from effectively anywhere, so long as the listings have been optimized for search.
While the associated guidelines are cited as part of the potential problem, that means competing job services do have their listings showcased, sometimes prominently, in the tool. US-based Indeed is noted by the source has having not formated their listings for use in Google's Jobs tool. But the company is showcased on several searches in the tool regardless.
Proponents of Google's efforts to make looking for a new job easy point to those figures when voicing their support. The US-based firm iCIMS Inc, for example, has claimed that Google is just better at matching searchers to jobs. Start their search from Google's Jobs is at least three times more likely to land users the job, it says.
Another US company, Monster Worldwide Inc, has taken the opportunity presented by the tool to bolster clicks on its site.