The European Parliament on Thursday passed a motion calling for the activities of search engines to be separated from other commercial activities. This would, among other things, ensure that Google would have to be split up.
The motion was passed with 284 votes in favor and 174 against; 56 MPs abstained. The adopted resolution calls on EU Member States and the European Commission “to pave the way for a single digital market”. The most important part, however, is the proposal to reduce the power of search engines. For example, online search engines must be disconnected from other commercial activities.
Parliament calls on the Commission to investigate whether competition rules can be applied to enforce a possible separation between search engines and other commercial activities. The motion states that search engines “may now use their information to offer targeted services to the detriment of competing parties”.
Google is under fire in the EU for this, because the search company would favor its own services in search results. Google suggested several times to give competing services more attention and to clearly highlight its own services in search results, but those settlement proposals were rejected and the EU is threatening a fine. The European Parliament now wants to go a step further by removing services such as Maps, Shopping, Docs and Gmail from the search engine.
“The online search engines are important for enabling competition within a single digital market”, said the European Parliament. Furthermore, the functioning of search engines should be made clear. “Indexing, evaluation, presentation and ranking must be done independently and transparently”, it is said in the words of the parliament. The responsible minister of the European Commission is against splitting up Google.