Google updates EU on changes to shopping tool

Google updates EU on changes to shopping tool
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Google has provided a second report on how it is dealing with competitors to its shopping price comparison service, according to the European Union.

“We have received the second Google shopping report,” the European Commission, the executive arm of the EU, told Reuters on Monday. Officials did not provide further details.

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The Google report comes after Commission fined Google roughly $2.8 billion in June of 2017 for taking advantage of its dominant market position to benefit its comparison shopping tool at the expense of its rivals. As part of the deal, the Commission required that Google provide regular reports on its updates to its shopping tool.

The Commission spoke favorably of the previous proposal it received from Google in June, saying that competition is increasing.

In the reports, Google detailed its new proposal that would allow price comparison competitors to get placement of their own ads atop Google's search results.

The Commission levied its original fine over concerns that Google's dominant position in internet searches, gave its comparison shopping tool an unfair advantage over competitors. Google's comparison shopping tool appears at the top of Google search results when users search for products.

Prior to the ruling, Google fought back vigorously against the European Commission’s charges, saying that they weren’t fair and didn’t factor in competition in the online shopping market from sites like Amazon and eBay.

“We believe the European Commission’s online shopping decision underestimates the value of those kinds of fast and easy connections,” Google’s then-senior vice president of global affairs and general counsel Kent Walker wrote.

“While some comparison shopping sites naturally want Google to show them more prominently, our data shows that people usually prefer links that take them directly to the products they want, not to websites where they have to repeat their searches,” he added.