Google is facing new antitrust charges in the European Union, according to The Guardian. The regulatory body launched a formal investigation into Google's dominance of the online search market last November, but recent complaints from a French search company are now focusing the European Commission's attention on Google's activities in vertical search.
Based in Versailles, 1plusV offers "thematically clustered search results." The company claims Google forced it to adopt Google technology before it could access certain advertising services. As such, the argument goes, Google is "blocking the development of competitors."
Google not only prevents the development of alternative technology, 1plusV says. It also promotes its own results above those from competitors by artificially lowering the ranking that competitors' results receive. The Wall Street Journal explains:
The commission is investigating whether Google lowered the position among unpaid results of services with which it competes, such as price comparison or specialized search, and placed its own services higher to shut out competition. The commission will also investigate allegations that Google lowered its quality score for sponsored, or paid, links of competing search services.