Thursday, November 27, 2014

European Parliament votes to split Google search from its other businesses

The European Parliament voted on Thursday in favor of a resolution that would see search engines being "unbundled" from their other commercial services.

The resolution, which was approved by 384 votes to 174 (with 56 abstentions), focuses on the online search market and its "particular importance in ensuring competitive conditions within the digital single market." In other words, unbundling would safeguard against Google and other search engines favoring their own services in search results.

The parliament called on the European Commission to "consider proposals with the aim of unbundling search engines from other commercial services."

The non-legislative resolution is more of a suggestion to European Union regulators than an order for EU member states. The message, however, is clear: Parliament members want the European Commission to "prevent any abuse" that could arise from interlinked services by search engine operators.

Although the resolution impacts all search engines — not only Google — it comes after a four-year probe into the company's search and advertising practices.

The resolution also reinforces the European Parliament's support of net neutrality, stating that “all internet traffic should be treated equally, without discrimination, restriction or interference.”

Google did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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