France cannot wait for the European Commission’s Statement of Objections to run its course. The French Senate is passing a bill that demands the search giant to reveal its search algorithm. The bill, if passed, will grant ARCEP (the national telecoms regulator) sweeping powers to monitor and scrutinize Google’s search engine algorithm.
This comes amidst EU’s antitrust lawsuit against the way Google is selectively or prominently displaying its own shopping ads, and marketing abuse through its Android platform. The lawsuit could have Google facing 10% of its total annual earnings in fines.
Unfortunately, so far Google hasn’t done a good job of arguing its case. Last week, it was reported that the traffic data Google cited in its defense was incorrect. The cited data was for Guardian and Yelp, claiming that “85% of their [Guardian’s] traffic is direct. Less than 10% comes from Google” and that 40% of Yelp’s traffic was from its mobile app. However, both businesses have wholly denied the assertions.
The EU has been extremely active lately in trying to regulate how Google and Facebook, the two behemoths in search and social respectively leverage their Big Data. Last week we also saw a lawsuit against Facebook’s “illegal” practices of using social data and the introduction of its Social Graph.
The immediate result of the Bill passing through the French Senate would be for Google to display at least three other rival search engines on its homepage and disclose the general principles of its site ranking algorithm to the search engine users. Danny Sullivan from Search Engine land had analyzed the probable solutions for Google if it wants to step out of the lawsuits unscathed, ranging from changes to how Google shopping works and ranks ads to complete overhauling of the algorithm. In the meantime, the team at MEP will continue working