Google is to be investigated by The European Commission, following complaints raised by competitors. Citing that the US search engine giant is abusing its position, the investigation will look at whether competing services were penalised in search results.
The root of the complaints is that the company actively manipulate their search results, in order to present their own products and tools ahead of others.
It is certainly not going to be an easy case, even for the EC who have had recent success with similar investigations into Intel and Microsoft. What makes this so difficult is, in essence, the very linchpin that Google survives by; its algorithm.
Regularly changed, updated, added to, subtracted from, it is incredibly complex – with SEO professionals spending money and time to determine how best to cater to it. Further still, it is heavily guarded by the company, though this in itself will not be an issue.
Finding any manipulation to favourably list Google products will be hard, and will also require an interrogation of internal communications. Despite this though the EC has been quick to intimate that wrongdoing by the company is not necessarily suspected.
This seems a strange thing to say, in light of the complaints which have launched the investigation.
Google has not taken an aggressive stance, and has said it welcomes the investigation as a chance to improve services.
Citing that many sites making the complaint are performing badly on their SERPs because they duplicate content, Google is not taking things lying down though.
It will certainly be an interesting to look at the case results.