Aggregators had accused Google of unfairly promoting its own services

Google has promised to promote rival search engines and aggregators in an attempt to avoid a multi-billion euro fine by the European Commission.

The technology giant has offered the concessions following the EU’s largest ever anti-competition probe. It alleged search engine abuse that saw Google promoting its own products above that of its rivals.

The concessions could mean insurance comparison sites are promoted next to Google Compare – which began selling insurance in 2012. It bought BeatThatQuote in March 2011 for £37.7m.

The examples of the changes Google is likely to make that are published on the EC’s website do not show insurance search engines, but they do show how it will promote rival aggregator results for other industries.

For example, customers looking for a physical product would see clearly which results are from Google’s Shopping, with three alternatives next to it. The alternatives would be chosen by Google’s natural search algorithms.

Aggregators have previously blamed changes to Google’s algorithm for poor performance. At its trading update for the first half of 2013, Moneysupermarket said trading was slower in the second quarter because of a slower rate of growth in insurance after Google’s changes resulted in lower visitor numbers and income from natural searches.

European Competition Commissioner Joaquin Almunia is now looking to make the changes legally binding in coming months.


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How search results could change

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