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Google preps for Brussels wrist-slap

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Reports are emerging that European regulators have won a small victory over Google in their dispute about the impartiality or otherwise of the Chocolate Factory's search results.

According to the New York Times, the antitrust investigation will end in the next couple of days with the European Commission accepting a settlement proposed by Google.

While Google will not have to rewrite its search algorithm, the NYT says, the settlement will result in a requirement that the Chocolate Factory clearly identify search results form its own properties (like Google+ Local or Google News), and in some cases will have to show links from rival search engines.

Eric Schmidt and European competition commissioner Joaquin Almunia must have spent a weekend of heavy texting: as recently as April 10, Alumina had told the NYT labels alone were insufficient and that consumers needed a “real” choice.

"In areas where Google does not make money from search results, like weather or news, the company will label the results as Google-owned properties. In areas where Google sells ads, like local business reviews, it will show links to at least three competitors. In areas in which all search results are paid ads, like shopping, Google will auction links to rivals," the NYT claims.

The report says the changes will be seen in public once Google has tested them for a month. Neither Google nor the European Commission had any comment on the rumour. ®

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