Search engine giant Google sees no sign of relief in the European Union. The French Senate just made things worse for the company. On Thursday, the upper house of the parliament approved an amendment to a draft economy bill that would force search engines to disclose the workings of their search ranking algorithms. It will allow authorities to ensure that the U.S. company delivers non-discriminatory and fair results to search queries, reports Helene Fouquet of Bloomberg.
Google has 90% market share in France
The bill also requires search engines to provide links to at least three rival search engines on their home page. Though French authorities did not specifically name any company, the move is aimed at Google, which has a 90% market share in France. The vote comes just a day after the European Union accused the U.S. company of abusing its dominance position in the search engine market.
On Wednesday, the EU adopted a Statement of Objections, which said that Google was discriminating against rival shopping services in its search results. The amendments to the French economic bill were led by Senator Catherine Morin-Desailly. Another amendment says that one of the three links to alternative search engines must be a French product.
Google accused of promoting its own products ahead of rivals
According to Le Firago, French Economy Minister Emmanuel Macron supported the initiative, but said that such interventions should be left to the European Commission. Morin-Desailly said earlier this week in an interview with the Financial Times that the amendments were aimed at combating the perceived bias in how the U.S. company operates its “closed-box algorithms.” Google has been accused of using the closed code to promote its own products and services ahead of rivals.
Search engines are critical for a large number of Internet businesses. So, authorities must ensure fairness, said Morin-Desailly. Opposition senators were of the view that they should curb the growing monopoly of U.S. Internet firms in France and Europe. In November 2014, the European Parliament said that they would consider breaking up search engines if they couldn’t increase competition through other routes.