European Parliament calls for Google to separate its search service
November 28, 2014
Google’s troubles with the European Parliament have been exacerbated this week after a resolution calling for Google to “unbundle” its search operation from the rest of its products received a favourable vote.
The resolution has no legally binding powers, so Google will not have to break up their product suite as a result of it, however it does call upon the likes of the European Commission to consider the proposals. Google will be worrying about this, especially given their recent issues with the EC over the “right to be forgotten” laws.
The resolution also called for a single digital market in Europe that would promote net neutrality and standardise a number of aspects of the web. While these aspirations are perhaps a little more ambitious, the call for Google to separate search from the rest of its package may have more legs and reflects to increasingly hostile reception to the search giant has been getting in one of its biggest markets in recent years.
The resolution also aims to put pressure on the EC to end Google’s position as the dominant search provider in the region. Some may argue that this is a result of the region being unable to product a similar search product to compete with it, however it has been well-documented in recent months that Google has faced a number of anti-competitor issues in the region.
Part of the issue is also motivated by taxes and, specifically in Google’s case, the failure of many US companies to pay the tax such authorities believe that they owe.
The likelihood is that little will come of the positive vote for this resolution. It appears to be calling for something that the Parliament has no right to call for in relation to Google and there is just a touch of sour grapes attached to the resolution that appears to demonstrate the European Parliament’s ongoing frustration with the organisation.
Regardless, it still raises a number of very interesting possibilities in addition to providing a good indicator as to the thought processes such organisations are using to make their decisions in relation to the search giant.
Could this be the beginning of the end for Google in Europe. Not likely at all, however the additional possibility of a European Union sponsored search engine will ensure the issue catches the attention of a number of people in the industry, as will the attempts to better standardise the web and the content on it proposed by the resolution.