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Google Gets Fined $21M In India For ‘Search Bias’

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Google has been hit with a more than $21 million fine in India after being accused of “search bias” and abusing its position of power.

“Google was found to be indulging in practices of search bias and by doing so, it causes harm to its competitors as well as to users,” the Competition Commission of India (CCI) wrote in an order, according to Reuters. “Google was leveraging its dominance in the market for online general web search, to strengthen its position in the market for online syndicate search services.”

CCI found that through its search design, Google placed its commercial flight search function at a prominent position on the search results page, which in turn hurt other businesses in the market.

The CCI did admit, however, that there was no evidence of violations regarding Google’s specialized search design, AdWords and online distribution agreements.

A Google spokesman said the company was reviewing CCI’s “narrow concerns” before taking any next steps.

“We have always focused on innovating to support the evolving needs of our users. The Competition Commission of India has confirmed that, on the majority of issues it examined, our conduct complies with Indian competition laws,” he said.

This isn’t the first time Google has dealt with antitrust allegations. Just last year, the company was ordered to pay 2.4 billion euros ($2.7 billion) in fines by the European Commission, who determined that Google manipulated its search results to benefit its own shopping services and disadvantage the services of others. Google is appealing that fine.

“As a result of Google’s illegal practices, traffic to Google’s comparison-shopping service increased significantly, whilst rivals have suffered very substantial losses of traffic on a lasting basis,” the EU said, citing figures of a 45 percent increase in traffic for Google’s service.

The Commission in India, which voted 4-2 in favor of the fine, said that Google will need to deposit the fine within 60 days.

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