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Google to alter search results under pact with European regulators, report says

April 15, 2013|By Salvador Rodriguez
  • Google has reportedly agreed to a settlement with the European Commission as a result of an antitrust investigation.
Google has reportedly agreed to a settlement with the European Commission… (Karen Bleier / AFP / Getty…)

Google will modify how certain search results are displayed under an agreement reached with European regulators to settle antitrust charges, according to a report.

The European Commission has been investigating allegations that Google unfairly favors its own services over its rivals' in its search results. Now, reports say the company has agreed to label which services are its own as well as link to its competitors in some cases.

On restaurant search results, for example, Google will have to include three prominent links to its rivals, according to the Financial Times. For shopping results, where the company shows advertisements, the company will be required to auction links to shopping comparison services that rival Google's.

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This is the first time Google has agreed to a settlement that will affect how it displays its search results, according to reports.

As of now, the settlement has not been publicly announced. Google did not confirm the agreement but said "we continue to work cooperatively with the European Commission."

The changes are expected to be seen in Europe about a month from now. Until then, the company's competitors will be allowed to weigh in on the apparent settlement. If the agreement goes through, Google will be legally bound to it for five years. If Google doesn't keep its promises, the company could be fined as much as 10% of its annual global sales.

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