Google’s efforts to drive more traffic to European shopping rivals have failed, Margrethe Vestager, Europe’s Competition Commissioner, told attendees at a conference.
Two years ago, Vestager fined Google $2.65 billion (2.4-billion-euro) for favoring its own price-comparison shopping service, citing anti-competitive business practices.
Google then offered to allow competitors to bid for advertising space at the top of a search page, giving them the opportunity to compete on equal terms.
“We may see a show of rivals in the shopping box,” she told attendees, according to one report. “We may see a pickup when it comes to clicks for merchants. But we still do not see much traffic for viable competitors when it comes to shopping comparison.”
Vestager also is keeping a close watch on Google’s proposal for its Android mobile operating system, for which the company was fined 4.34 billion euros. The fine was for blocking rivals by pre-installing its Chrome browser and search app on Android smartphones and notebooks.
As a result, Google began giving Android users in Europe a choice to select a provider to power a search box on their phone’s home screen and as the default in Chrome when installed.
The new choice screen, as Google calls it, will be introduced to new Android phones across Europe in early 2020.
Google plans to use “a first-price sealed-bid auction to select the other general search providers that appear in the choice screen.” The auction will run on a per-country basis from January 1, 2020 to December 31, 2020. Following the initial round of auctions, any subsequent rounds will occur once a year.
Search providers for each auction must state the price they are willing to pay each time a user selects them from the choice screen in the specific country.