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April 20, 2015

EU to Probe Transparency of U.S. Search Engines: Report

man with magnifying glass
Photo Credit: andercismo

Search engines including Google, Microsoft’s Bing and Yahoo will be under investigation courtesy of European regulators in a bid to determine if they are transparent in their display of search results, Reuters is reporting.

The inquiry, which is to be launched next month, is in response to complaints from European business and politicians about what they are calling the dominance of U.S. search engine firms. The inquiry is to determine if European search companies have a fair shot against the search giants.

The inquiry is not of the anti-trust variety, however, which could be accompanied by sanctions and hefty fines if the companies were found guilty of breaching EU anti-trust law.

The European Commission, in a draft of its strategy seen by Reuters, said it would “carry out a comprehensive investigation and consultation on the role of platforms, including the growth of the sharing economy.”

According to the report, the probe will be launched in 2016 and will examine paid for links and advertisements as well as how the companies use the information they collect.

European Commission vice-president Andrus Ansip is expected to announce the upcoming probe on May 6.