Google tries to please the European Parliament with a change on services search results page
Google’s actions are focused on displaying business listing websites, which contain information about restaurants, hotels or other services offered in specific regions. So, when someone searches, for example, “restaurants in New York”, the search results will show business listings websites as suggestions as well.
The new way of displaying search results has been brought to our attention by Engaget and Search Engine Land. Apparently, smaller companies, such as Yelp, have been complaining about the dominance of Google over the presentation of information to users. In 2018, Google was fined almost $4.7 billion by the European Commission for abusing its power and illegally obstructing competition.
Now, upon performing a Google search for services in your area, you are greeted with suggestions for a search on competitor services’ platforms, such as Yelp, along with the usual search results. The new version of the search results’ page is visible for countries in Europe, but those rivals’ suggestion page does not show up on google.com search for the United States.
The displayed directories are most likely algorithmically selected, according to Search Engine Land’s report on the topic. The alternative directories are apparently not an ad unit, as they do not have any “ad” or “sponsored” label on them.
Nevertheless, we are still left to wonder whether this solution will drive meaningful traffic to business listing websites. We do not have information whether it will be sufficient to prevent another antitrust case by the European Parliament in regards to Google’s alleged domination over the market, and whether this change will be found as a tangible solution to the problem or not.