The European Union has accused Google of abusing its dominant position in the online search market to benefit its own comparison shopping and advertising business.
The EU’s executive branch is already investigating whether Google gives preferential treatment to its own products in its Android operating system.
“Google has come up with many innovative products that have made a difference to our lives,” EU anti-trust commissioner Margrethe Vestager said. “But that doesn’t give Google the right to deny other companies the chance to compete and innovate.”
Ms Vestager said the European Commission’s preliminary investigation has revealed that Google has “unduly favoured its own comparison shopping service in its general search result pages”.
This means that “consumers may not see the most relevant results to their search queries,” she said.
Separately, Ms Vestager said the Commission has expressed concern that Google is hindering rivals by limiting their ability to place search adverts on third-party websites.
She asked Google and its parent company Alphabet to respond to the findings within 10 weeks.
“But if our investigations conclude that Google has broken EU anti-trust rules, the Commission has a duty to act to protect European consumers and fair competition on European markets,” she said.