Google faces EC antitrust probe over ‘unfair’ job search tool

Google faces EC antitrust probe over 'unfair' job search tool

Google faces yet another European Commission probe

EU REGULATORS have confirmed plans to probe Google’s job listings tool following complaints that the firm is abusing its search dominance to squeeze rival services out of the market. 

EU competition commissioner Margrethe Vestager, who has so far slapped Google with antitrust fines totalling £7.64bn, said on Tuesday that the European Commission (EC) is now turning attention to ‘Google for Jobs’ over concerns it’s falling foul of similar anti-competitive practices. 

“We’re looking right now at whether the same thing may have happened with other parts of Google’s business – like the job search business known as Google for Jobs,” she told a conference in Berlin on Tuesday.

This comes after 23 online job search sites wrote to the Commission earlier this month moaning that Google’s own jobs search widget, which is placed at the top of results for searches such as “IT jobs” or “developer jobs”, is circumventing the need for a user to click through to a traditional job site.

The companies, which includes Best Jobs Online and German sites Intermedia and Jobindex, allege that the positioning of the widget is illegal because Google is using its dominance to attract users to “ultimately serve as a substitute for other job boards” without the traditional investment.  

“Having launched its online recruitment service in Germany in May 2019, as in other EU countries (Spain, France and the UK), Google for Jobs instantly became market leader invisibility,” the companies wrote in the letter.

“Google also directly offers its services to recruiters and thus fulfils the typical functions of a job board. In doing so, Google is attempting to circumvent and ultimately serve as a substitute for other job boards.

“In fact, behind our backs, Google’s sales teams are already actively and directly approaching our customers and sourcing recruiters as key clients.”

The letter called on Vestager, who has been looking into Google for to issue an interim order for Google to stop this “anticompetitive behaviour” while an investigation takes place. 

In a statement, a Google spokesperson said: “Finding a job can be tough, so we worked with jobs providers to create a better experience on Search.

“Any provider – from individual employers to job listing platforms – can use this feature in Search, and many of them have seen a significant increase in the number of job applications they receive. Since launch, we’ve made a number of changes to address feedback in Europe.” µ

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