Internet firms in CR protest against Google's practices


27.05.2014 13:10

Prague - Czech Internet companies, grouped in the Czech Internet Advertising Association (SPIR), are protesting against the practices of the world's biggest web search engine Google, SPIR said at a press conference today.


Americká internetová společnost Google, logo, myš - ilustrační foto. ČTK ČTK

The companies complain about the display of unauthorised content and manipulations with search results, SPIR said.

Google said it would comment on the complaint after the European Commission, which is investigating the practices, releases a verdict in the matter.

The company has already proposed that the EC should adjust the services. But SPIR argues that the adjustments are insufficient and only aggravate the problem.

Czech companies criticise especially the Google Images service, which has been displaying searched pictures in extra large sizes since 2013.

The definition of the pictures often correspond to the original definition, or is even higher. In practice, this means that the service offers other authors' content without compensating them or the owners, SPIR said.

Another problem is the preference of Google's own specialised services in search results on Google, such as the service Google Shopping, which allows users to search for products on online shopping websites.

A user might be misled to think that the found result is not an advertisement, but a natural search result. Consequently, the search engine can paradoxically offer a more expensive product or service to a user, according to SPIR.

Google's vice-president Kent Walker said earlier Google would make significant changes in the way the company operates in Europe.

Google is cooperating with the EC on finding a solution to the objections that have been raised, Walker said.

The EC has launched an antimonopoly proceedings against Google over these matters. SPIR joined the proceedings, and also called on the Czech government to support Czech companies in the dispute, and to exert pressure on European executive authorities, which are to issue a verdict in June on whether the EC would permit Google's practices after the proposed changes are made.

If the EC gave consent to the practices, SPIR would initiate a legal action at Czech courts, and would also start an information campaign about Google's practices, the association said.

If the EC enabled Google to offer its services under certain conditions, it could lead to a closure of a number of small local Internet companies and a weakening of the position of large ones, said Jan Simkanic from SPIR.

Google has a share of over 90 percent on the Eruopean web search market, and is steadily strengthening the position of its other services through Internet search.

Google's position in the Czech Republic is weaker, as its strengthening is prevented by a strong local player,

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