BUSINESS

Google Canada Faces Competition Bureau Investigation

05/21/2013 12:34 EDT | Updated 05/21/2013 12:34 EDT

The federal Competition Bureau is preparing to investigate Google Canada, the Financial Post reports.

It’s not clear what the scope of the probe will be. But odds are good it will follow similar lines to investigations in the U.S. and European Union, where regulators raised concerns about how the search engine proritized results.

The Competition Bureau notified Google of its plans to investigate, but hasn’t yet requested any specific information from the company, the Post reports.

Google dominates Canada’s search engine market seemingly to a greater extent than it does the U.S. market. The company gets 67 per cent of search engine queries in the U.S., compared to 90 per cent of the Canadian market, according to TechCrunch.

Google recently settled investigations into anti-competitive practices in both the U.S. and European Union.

In the U.S., Google was probed over allegations it may be altering search results to favour its own products and services, as well as allegations it overreached in suing companies that it said breached its Motorola patents.

As part of its settlement with the U.S. Federal Trade Commission, Google agreed to stop seeking injunctions on its patents and go through third-party arbitration when a dispute arose.

The possibility Google is gaming its search results was also raised in Europe, where the company also controls about 90 per cent of search queries.

Google last month submitted a formal set of remedies to the EU’s Competition Commissioner meant to end a two-year investigation that could have resulted in fines for the company.

The proposal includes Google labeling its own products in search results, agreeing to show at least three links to rivals, and third-party verification that Google is complying with the agreement.

However, some observers have questioned whether the proposal will pass “market testing,” a process that involves getting feedback on Google’s proposal from its competitors.

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