Google offered to exclude its “Google News Showcase” service from the general search results in Germany in order to end an investigation by the local antitrust authority, the authority announced on Wednesday.
“Google has proposed measures to respond to our competition concerns,” said Andreas Mundt, President of the Federal Cartel Authority, in a statement.
“The company no longer plans to include showcase content in the general search results,” said Mundt.
The regulator said it will now hold consultations with press publishers to see if the measures are “doing the job”.
Contacted by AFP, Google did not immediately comment on the case.
Launched in 2020 on the German market, Google News Showcase offers publishers the opportunity to place journalistic content online more prominently.
The American tech giant planned to incorporate the new platform into its main search results, which would have multiplied audiences for the material.
The regulator opened an investigation after a complaint was filed by the Corint Media publishing group, which manages the rights of radio, television and online news sites.
The editor feared that newsgroups that did not sign an agreement with Google would ban their content from search results.
The integration of Google News Showcase in the search results was “clearly designed to draw the attention of users to the new Google news service and its press content,” Corint said in a statement at the opening of the investigation.
“This means that Google’s quasi-monopoly position on the search engine market is being exploited in an abusive manner to the detriment of press publishers who do not participate in the service,” said the group.
The regulator also looked into whether publishers that have entered into an agreement with Google would be prevented from fully enforcing their so-called related rights, which would enable providers to claim compensation for the use of their content.
The negotiations on Showcase would be “clearly separated from the ongoing negotiations on other ancillary copyright payments” in response to the problem, the regulator said.
Google also assured that access to the service is based on “objective criteria” and does not distinguish between the publishers for other reasons, particularly financial reasons.
The announcement comes a few days after the supervisory authority classified Google as a company of “paramount importance for all markets” and thus opened the door to increased surveillance of the technology giant.
Check out the latest from the Consumer Electronics Show on Gadgets 360 in our CES 2022 hub.