Google Faces $2.7 Billion Fine

John Lister's picture

Google is set to pay a fine of more than $2.5 billion for unfairly favoring its own shopping comparison service in search results. But critics say the fine is too small to have a serious effect on the company.

A European Union court has rejected an appeal by Google against a 2017 fine imposed by the European Commission for breaking antitrust rules.

The case involved the way the main Google Search service handled queries about products. As well as relevant product pages on retailer and manufacturer sites, the results list would often include relevant pages on price comparison services.

Google Shopping Unfairly Promoted

Regulators concluded that Google had deliberately set the results algorithm so that the listing for its own price comparison service, Google Shopping, would show up higher in the results than those of rival services. They said this was clear manipulation and the placement wasn't justified by any of the usual measures Google used to determine how relevant a page was to a particular search. (Source:

This violated European competition rules which, to put it in very simplified terms, say it's OK for Google to dominate the search market, and it's OK for Google to favor its own products and services in search results, but it's not OK to do both.

In rejecting Google's appeal, judges not only upheld the original decision, but noted Google had made the problem worse by offering to make rival comparison services more prominent on results pages in a paid advertising slot.

Giant's Behavior 'Unchanged'

The one spot of relief for Google is that the court says the violation only involves the market for price comparison services, rather than Google having been anticompetitive in the wider search engine market.

Although the fine stands at €2.42 billion (US $2.77 billion), one antitrust expert told The Register that the amount wasn't enough to make a serious dent in Google's profits and questioned whether it had changed its behavior since the original ruling. (Source:

Google now has the option of taking the case to a final appeal at the European Union's top court. It hasn't yet publicly said whether it plans to do so.

What's Your Opinion?

Do you agree with the ruling? Should Google be allowed to decide the order of search results in any way it sees fit? Does the fact its search tool dominates the market make any difference?

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kitekrazy's picture

Who gets that money?

What if they don't pay it>

Unrecognised's picture

No entity in civilisation should ever be allowed to accrue that much money.