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US/EU: American travel companies take aim at Google

 |  April 20, 2015

American TripAdvisor a leading Internet travel sites has emerged as a key player in the antitrust complaint the European Commission brought against the online search titan Google Inc.

Last week, European regulators accused Google of abusing its dominant market share in Internet search by displaying results from its Google Shopping retail site ahead of similar results from competing online retailers.

The commission began its investigation in 2010, spurred by claims by several small European companies that Google was competing unfairly. But several big American companies joined the fray, including Microsoft Corp., the product review site Yelp.com, and TripAdvisor, which filed a complaint in 2012.

While the commission’s complaint deals only with Google’s shopping service, TripAdvisor and another major travel site, Expedia, say that Google uses the same tactics to promote its online travel service, Google Flights. The European regulators noted they are continuing to investigate Google’s other business practices.

“Google engages in preferencing and manipulates search results so that consumers see content that benefits Google, not the best content for consumers,” Chief executive Kaufer said in a statement Monday. “This practice harms consumers and competition, and must be ended.”

In a posting on its corporate blog, Google senior vice president Amit Singhal denied any wrongdoing. Singhal noted that while TripAdvisor said it has been harmed by Google’s tactics, it also “claims to be the Web’s largest travel brand and has nearly doubled its revenues in the last four years.”


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