EU regulator fines Google another €1.5bn for illegal online advertising practices

Google Chrome icon on mobile

Google will now notify European users about the browser choices on Android

Google was slapped with a €4.3 billion ($4.88 billion) antitrust fine last year related to Android, and a €2.4 billion ($2.73 billion) fine the year before for its search business.

"Google has cemented its dominance in online search adverts and shielded itself from competitive pressure by imposing anti-competitive contractual restrictions on third-party websites", said Vestager in a written statement.

The change, now under test, would add a tab showcasing Google's rivals high up on the web page in order to boost their traffic and avoid further scrutiny by the European Commission.

Google senior vice-president of global affairs Kent Walker said the company will make further changes to its products to address the European Union antitrust concerns. Nearly 10 years later, the tech industry is going through this again, this time with Google and the EU.

"Google was by far the strongest player in online search advertising intermediation in the European Economic Area (EEA), with a market share above 70pc from 2006 to 2016", said the Commission ruling. After receiving "feedback" from the European Commission, last night Google announced it would offer Android users in the EU a choice of browsers and search engines.

The European Commission has now slapped Google with €8.25bn worth of fines in three large cases since 2017.

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"Over the next few months, we'll be making further updates to give more visibility to rivals in Europe", he said. A year before that, Vestager punished Google for giving its shopping-comparison service a better placement in search results over rivals' offerings.

Google said its was testing a new display to search results that would allow certain rivals a more prominent position on results pages.

Walker points out that Android users have "always been able to install any search engine or browser", but there's a difference between having Google's search engine and Chrome browser pre-installed as default and just letting users find alternatives on their own, and actively providing customers with a choice.

The company's changes include a new effort, detailed Tuesday, to help owners of Android smartphones find and use competing search and web-browsing services.

2013 - Lobbying group FairSearch files a complaint about Google's Android business practices to the European Commission.

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