Try googling ‘Google’

Everyone knows about ‘Google’ – a search engine. But, if you’ve happened to google ‘Google’ recently, you’ll be aware that it is being investigated by the European Commission, following claims by other search engines that it is abusing its dominant position.

It is not against the law to have a monopoly, but anti-trust legislation does make it illegal to abuse that dominant position. Those making the complaints argue that Google manipulates its search results and puts competing services further down the page whenever you search for something. The investigation has been launched following:

“complaints by search service providers about unfavourable treatment of their services in Google’s unpaid and sponsored search results coupled with an alleged preferential placement of Google’s own services.”

Google operates two services: unpaid results and ads. The investigation will aim to see whether the method that Google uses to generate unpaid results is to the detriment of its competitors. The following articles look at this issue.

EU to launch Google search investigation Guardian, Mark Sweney (30/11/10)
EU launches antitrust probe into alleged Google abuse BBC News (30/11/10)
EU launches investigation into allegations that Google abuses its dominance of internet search Telegraph, Rupert Neate (30/11/10)
Google faces European Competition Inquiry BBC News (24/02/10)
EU launches Google investigation after complaints Reuters (30/11/10)


  1. What are the characteristics of a monopoly? Why is it argued to be against the consumer’s interest?
  2. To what extent does Google have a monopoly over internet searches?
  3. What is the purpose of the investigation into Google? If Google is found guilty of ‘abusing its dominant position’, what action could be taken?
  4. Why is competition argued to be a good thing? Could the EU’s investigation actually not be in the interests of the public?