Google under investigation for ‘dominating’ ad market

Technology giant, Google, is currently being investigated by the European Commission on the grounds that it is “present at all levels of the supply chain for online display advertising”, possibly at the expense of its rivals.

Margrethe Vestager, commission executive vice president has also described this possibility as ‘concerning’. 

According to an article published by the BBC, the European Commission has set out to determine whether Google is making it hard for other online advertisers to compete.

The inquiry will be particularly focused on the following: 

  • The obligation to use Google’s services and or Google Ads to purchase display ads on YouTube
  • the obligation to use Google Ad Manager to service online display ads on YouTube
  • the apparent favouring of Google’s ad exchange, AdX, by its other services
  • the restrictions placed by Google on the ability of rival advertisers to access data about user identity or behaviour
  • Google’s plans to prohibit third-party cookies on Chrome
  • Google’s plans to stop making the advertising identifier available to third parties on Android smart mobile devices

According to the report, Google will comply with the inquiry. 

Margrethe Vestager has expressed concerns that Google “collects data to be used for targeted advertising purposes, it sells advertising space and also acts as an online advertising intermediary”

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Google has said it has “plans” to “strengthen user control over their own data”, according to the BBC, by way of its Privacy Sandbox alternative to cookies which track users as they navigate the web.

In this case, Google Chrome will provide only anonymous feedback.

There are those however, who feel that this will also favour Google at the expense of its competitors. 

This will not mark the first time Google has roused suspicion due to its policies and controversies relating to user data, among other matters that some have described as troubling.

The search giant has been hit with multiple EU fines amounting to 8.25bn euros in only three years.

As recent as March 2019, Google was fined £91m after being accused of abusing its market dominance, by allegedly restricting third-party rivals from displaying search ads between 2006 – 2016.