EU Parliament presses to split Google search from other services

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25 November 2014 | 0

Members of the European Parliament are readying a motion calling for the breakup of Google, thereby separating its search engine functionality from other commercial services, according to news reports.

A draft resolution calling for the break-up should be finalised this week, with a vote potentially on 27 November, according to a report from The Financial Times. While the European Parliament has no formal power to break up the company, a vote to split Google could put pressure on the European Commission, the EU’s executive body.

The motion is backed by several German politicians and by the Parliament’s two largest political blocs, the European People’s Party and the Socialists, according to the newspaper. News agency Reuters also reported the plan.

Google currently faces a long-running antitrust investigation in the EU. Google and the EU’s previous antitrust commissioner, Joaquín Almunia, agreed to a set of terms back in February, but after complaints from online publishers and other groups, the commission demanded more concessions from Google.

Consumer Watchdog, a consumer rights group and long-time Google critic, applauded the move. “This is exactly what needs to happen,” said John Simpson, Consumer Watchdog’s Privacy Project director. “Search should be separated from Google’s other businesses. We called for this back in 2010 and the need to do this has become even clearer as Google’s power has increased.”

Grant Gross, IDG News Service

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