Google’s gigantic size and its huge powers could be its worst enemy! Know why
AdvertisementIndia doesn’t take monopoly in a good way. And the proof is here. Search engine giant Google is in trouble for abusing its position of dominance in the respective field. Being a literal giant in the web space, it has forced advertisers to spend more, alleged Competition Commission of India's (CCI). Now that it’s in a soup, Google has asked for an extension for the September 10 deadline to respond to the CCI.
"It is a routine thing to file for such extensions, particularly because the nature of this response will be lengthy," said a competition lawyer.
Experts suggest the best approach would be to use excerpts from the report to counter the conclusions drawn in it. It is unclear if the extension will be granted considering that the company was fined Rs 1 crore for delaying proceedings last year. Google is tight-lipped on the matter.
Google had earlier argued that the competition commission had no role in this matter since users were not charged for searches. The director-general, however, said there was value associated with a consumer's use of the Google platform that was monetised in the form of advertising, which Google sells based on the number of consumers using the search engine.
Google then argued for the inclusion of vertical search engines such as travel portals to check air fares or social networks for people-related questions where a consumer looking for answers could achieve the same outcome. In this regard, the commission sought a response from Facebook, which responded by saying its results were restricted to captive users and were not comparable with a horizontal web search like Google.
CCI’s reports allege that Google is abusing its dominance to boost advertising income at the cost of subscribing businesses. Google has two advertising engines -Adwords, which results in ads popping up when relevant words are input for a search, and Adsense, which embeds advertising, such as ads in between You-Tube videos. Adsense has an extension by which it embeds ads signed by Google on content sites if the vertical search within the site is powered by Google.
The report alleges that Adwords, which displays results based on a quality score of a website or advertisement, can be manipulated, and has a team for manual intervention of these scores. Therefore, an advertiser with a low score would need to pay more than a peer with a high score.
The commission has found that Google doesn't track quality scores during the course of advertising, which is done by Microsoft’s Bing.
"Google admittedly prevents the partner with whom it enters into negotiated agreements from implementing on their websites any search services which are the same or substantially similar to Google's search services," said the report. As per the report, with a charge of $1 per 1,000 searches on these sites, Google prioritises its ads even though the content site may have some of its own, when the search results are shown. Google argues that it restricts search engines on a given site to prevent confusion for the consumers of the content site.
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