India says Google may have rigged search results

India says Google may have rigged search results

By Jacob Kastrenakes on August 31, 2015 01:05 pm Email @jake_k
http://www.theverge.com/2015/8/31/9232709/india-says-google-may-be-rigging-search-results

India has some concerns about Google’s search practices. According to The Economic Times, India’s competition regulator has filed a report accusing Google of rigging its search results in a way that favors Google’s own properties, as well as third parties paying for ad spots within the results. The Competition Commission of India is said to have found that Google is ranking its own websites above the websites of competitors, even when its competitors do more traffic and should seemingly be give higher placement. The commission also takes issue with Google’s search results placing advertised links above links that are more relevant, which seems like more of a disagreement over how advertising should work.

“[WE] REMAIN CONFIDENT THAT WE COMPLY FULLY WITH INDIA’S COMPETITION LAW.”

A number of major companies are said to have corroborated the Competition Commission’s concerns, with Microsoft, Facebook, and Nokia’s maps division filing comments. The report and comments are not public, but The Economic Times says that it has viewed them. Around 30 companies in total are said to have responded to an inquiry from the commission on whether Google has abused its market position.

“We’re currently reviewing this report from the CCI’s ongoing investigation,” Google tells The Economic Times. “We continue to work closely with the CCI and remain confident that we comply fully with India’s competition laws. Regulators and courts around the world, including in the US, Germany, Taiwan, Egypt, and Brazil, have looked into and found no concerns on many of the issues raised in this report.”

Google has until September 10th to respond to the commission or request more time, according to The Economic Times. Following that, the commission will hold hearings to determine if Google is guilty of violating antitrust regulations. If it is, the commission can require that Google make changes to its business practices and impose a fine of up to 10 percent of its income, though it isn’t clear if that’s globally or within India.

As Google notes, it’s faced similar concerns in other countries. In the past, it’s made slight changes to how it presents search results to appease regulators, rather than facing larger legal action.

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