Google offers to adjust search results in EU dispute

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According to the European Commission, Google offered to label and separate its own links so users can distinguish them from natural search results. The company also promised to show links from competitors who offer specialized search services.

The company said it would not discriminate against businesses that opt out of specialized search results and would gives news sites more control over how their results appear in Google News. 

Google also agreed to abandon certain restrictions on advertising agreements.

The deal would allow Google to avoid a lengthy legal battle and potentially hefty fines. 

Thomas Vinje, a spokesman for FairSearch, a coalition of Google's competitors, applauded the commission for "laying out a clear and compelling case" that Google is abusing its market power.

But he said the commitments "appear to fall short of ending the preferential treatment at the heart of the Commission's case."

Google said only that it continues to work with the European Commission.

The European Commission has taken a harder line on Google than regulators in the United States. The Federal Trade Commission closed its investigation into Google earlier this year, deciding not to take any action on the charges of search bias. 

The U.S. agency concluded there was "some evidence" to suggest that Google uses its search engine to eliminate competition, but that the primary reason the company makes changes to its search algorithm is to improve the experience for users.

—Updated at 12:27 p.m.

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