Google fined $1.7 billion for search ad blocks in third European Union sanction


Fresh off the revelation that Google would implement a browser and search-engine picker in EU-sold Android devices, Google's advertising division is getting slapped with a fine next, to the tune of €1.5 billion ($1.69 billion).

The Commission also discovered clauses that required publishers to obtain approval from Google if they wished to change how ads from the search company's competitors were displayed on their website. Google alleged that the company phased these exclusivity arrangements out in 2009 replacing them with "premium placement" clauses which guaranteed the most profitable spaces in search results were given to Google ads.

Vestager continued, "Google has...shielded itself from competitive pressure by imposing anti-competitive contractual restrictions on third-party websites".

The shopping fine came after seven years of investigation launched by complaints from other price-comparison services that lost 90 percent of traffic against Google Shopping.

Here's what the European Commission's Margrethe Vestager, who is in charge of competition policy, said in a statement accompanying the announcement. Adsense serves up online commercials through a search function built into everyday websites, such as news sites.

The company prohibited rival search advertisers from displaying ads on publishers' search pages.

The fine brings Google's total tab with the European Union to 8.2 billion euros in less than two years.

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Google has been hit with a €1.49bn (£1.28bn) fine for abusing its dominant online advertising market position.

Google, of course, is also appealing the previous ruling, just as the European Commission is rumored to hand Google a new fine soon. Shopping search rivals are becoming more visible in Google's results, she said, and Google's plans to prompt users to pick alternative search and browser apps had "the potential to give users a real choice", she told a press conference.

The particular wing of Google's advertising empire the Commission is concerned with here is "AdSense for Search". Google would share part of the revenue generated from ads for users that used the search box.

This is how Google abuses its dominance, according to the EU.

In June 2017, EU's competition watchdog imposed a record €4.34 billion ($5.04 billion) fine on Google for "for illegal practices regarding Android mobile devices to strengthen the dominance of Google's search engine". "Over the next few months, we'll be making further updates to give more visibility to rivals in Europe", Walker said in a statement.

Still, the latest penalty isn't likely to have much effect on Google's business.