Google fined for 'search bias' in India


Latest regulatory setback? India's antitrust watchdog has imposed a 1.36B rupees ($21.2M) fine on Google for abusing its market dominance.

The penalty is said to be 5% of the total revenue generated by the company from its operations in India via different segments.

Therefore, the four members of the CCI made a decision to impose a penalty on Google at the rate of 5% of its total average revenue generated from India operations for the financial years 2013, 2014, and 2015, amounting to a total of Rs. 135.86 crore. Google had reported revenues of $77.78 billion worldwide in 2017.

The order was passed on complaints filed by and Consumer Unity & Trust Society filed in 2012. He is also VP of Strategy and Insights for the Local Search Association.

The CCI in its order noted that the allegations against Google in respect of search results essentially centred on design of Search Engine Result Page (SERP).

The charge against Google was that its algorithm calculates an advertiser's quality score, which forms the basis of where an advertisement appears. The country's antitrust organization have hit Google with a fine of about $20 million for alleged search bias.

"The competitors were denied access to the online search syndication services market due to such a conduct", CCI said in a statement.

This ruling by CCI can have long-term effects on all the other cases as well. This practice directly harms the competitors (start-ups the most) and is unfair to the consumers as well.

Google is the main gateway for users globally who make use of the website to search for content. "Google has also been instructed to "display a disclaimer in the commercial flight unit box" indicating that the "'search flights' link placed at the bottom" leads to Google's Flights page. The top results receive higher user attention and are critical for online visibility. But the nature of search engines (and online services in general) could be the culprit: Google's algorithm ranks websites and services by relevance, generally speaking. This was found to be anti-competitive behaviour. Back in June it was fined €2.42 billion by the European Commission for bias on its comparison shopping service, Android got put in the naughty corner by authorities in Turkey in March, while it has also been under investigation in South Korea.