Since 2010, Google has been under investigation by EU regulators over instances where the company allegedly manipulated its search results to push down rival services. The search giant’s latest proposal to settle the antitrust investigation was released today by Consumer Watchdog, which slammed it for failing to address consumer welfare.
The deal offers to label its own results that it is favoring as ‘Google Specialized Results’, and proposes to provide links to competing services — though it will, in some cases, impose a charge on them to be included in the listings.
It was also revealed in the proposal that Google is seeking a watchdog in Europe to monitor its compliance with these obligations it has suggested, as noted by the New York Times.
The job title: monitoring trustee.
This person has to be independent of Google and third parties, but will be paid by Google “in a way that does not influence or impede the independent and effective fulfillment of its mandate.”
As part of the job, the monitoring trustee has to check if Google is displaying text from their vertical search engine rivals, such as Kayak or Expedia, that is “relevant to the user’s query.”
It remains to be seen if the European Commission will accept Google’s latest proposal, but the New York Times notes that the EU’s competition commissioner, Joaquín Almunia, has already stated that he wants the benefits for consumers to kick in as soon as possible — and this hints that a settlement could be imminent.
Headline image via Justin Sullivan/Getty Images