Italy Investigates Google

The Italian Competition Authority closed on Monday the investigation into Google’s possible dominant position on the internet after the company committed itself to abide to stricter rules regulating the rankings on its news search engine.

According to the abiding agreement between the authority and Google, the company will allow on-line publishers a greater control of the contents published on Google news and more transparency on how the news ranking and online advertising profits by the company are made.

The investigation was launched following a complaint from Italy’s Federation of Newspaper Publishers accusing the search engine’s lack of transparency in handling the ranking process of Google News.

The Italian publishers accused Google of anticompetitive business practices with repercussions on the search advertising business, considering that choosing not to appear on Google News would automatically lead to their exclusion from Google’s search result pages.

The authority has deemed the proposals forwarded as a sufficient self-commitment by Google and has made these binding, sending at the same time a report to parliament urging it to update the current law concerning on-line publications and contents.

Its chairman Antonio Catrical in an interview with Xinhua last March had warned that if Google failed in proposing a self-reparatory action it would have risked facing a fine.

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