Getty added to EU Google antitrust investigation

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Photo agency Getty Images has been added as an “interested third person” to the European Commission’s antitrust investigation into Google, according to reports.

Google is accused of distorting search results in favour of its own services, including Google Shopping, Maps and several others, affecting competitors from travel sites to price comparison companies.

Getty filed an antitrust complaint over Google’s image search, which could lead to the EC expanding its investigations to include the service, according to the Wall Street Journal.

The photo agency has complained that searches for images through a standard Google search box heavily feature results from Google’s own image search service. Getty argues that this high prominence drives more traffic to Google at the detriment of Getty and other services. It also claims that Google Images’ display of photos from sites and publishers, instead of original licensed content, is bad for consumers.

Google has refuted the anticompetitive claims. The investigations form part of the growing unease over the dominant position of US technology firms within Europe. The US company holds a 90% search share across Europe.

The search company is not the only tech firm currently under the spotlight. Facebook is facing several investigations and lawsuits over its privacy practices across Europe.

The Council of the European Union recently agreed a framework for pan-European data privacy rules, which will send it, the EC and the European parliament into a trilogue this week to hash out a formalisation of new data protection laws.

Europe is targeting Google under antitrust laws but missing the bigger picture

Powered by Guardian.co.ukThis article was written by Samuel Gibbs, for theguardian.com on Tuesday 23rd June 2015 11.10 Europe/Londonguardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media Limited 2010