Europe begins formal investigation into possible anticompetitive behaviour by Google. This mainly concerns the online advertising technology that the American company uses. The EU wants to know whether Google has violated European competition rules by prioritizing its own services over those of competitors.
The European Commission is also looking at how Google handles data. The announcement comes less than two years after the previous investigation, which took almost a decade, was completed.
The research looks, among other things, at the restrictions Google imposes on advertisers and publishers regarding access to user data. For example, such data can be used to target advertisements to individual Internet users.
EU Commissioner Margrethe Vestager, who is in charge of competition policy, emphasizes that advertising is the core for Google, among others, to monetize online services.
Google collects data to use it for targeted advertising purposes; the group also sells advertising space and acts as an intermediary for online advertising. “We are concerned that Google has made it more difficult for other online advertising services to compete,” Vestager said.
According to the European Commission, a level playing field is essential. It is the first time that the EU has directly investigated the so-called ‘black box’ of online advertising. Google automatically calculates advertising space and prices and also offers these to advertisers and publishers.