In response to claims that Google ranks its own shopping service ahead of others, the search giant says it will start competing on equal terms.
As these changes are being made, Google is still appealing the ruling by the European Commission that Google Shopping has an unfair advantage in search results.
Google is being forced to make changes whether it believes the Commission’s claim is true or not.
The European Commission gave Google 90 days to make a change before facing further penalties. It’s now the end of that 90-day deadline.
What is Going to Change?
Previously, product ads displayed in the Shopping carousel would all come from Google. Now, product ads will start to be displayed based on auctions.
The look of product ads has also changed slightly, a line of text has been added to the bottom of each ad unit to indicate who won the auction.
Now, Comparison Shopping Services can bid to place ads on equal terms with Google Shopping (3/3) pic.twitter.com/wv4z0K6tyT
— Google Europe (@googleeurope) September 27, 2017
Google’s ads may still end up being displayed in the carousel, but now it’s competing in the auction against other merchants as a standalone business.
Will This Please the European Commission?
It’s too early to tell if these changes will be enough. An argument can still be made that Google’s deep pockets will continue to give the company an advantage. Google has the means to outbid virtually any competitor in an ad auction.
If Google ends up being a particularly aggressive bidder, then prices could be driven up to a point where businesses can no longer afford to advertise.
The European Commission will monitor the effects of these changes, I suspect we’ll learn more in the next few months.