German government wants access to Google’s search engine algorithms

German Justice Minister Heiko Maas argues that internet giant Google has so much power over consumers and markets that the American company should be forced to give insight into its search algorithms. Google’s dominant position is already under investigation by the EU.

In an interview with the Financial Times, Maas stated that Google’s power over consumers and markets is ‘extremely great’, with the minister referring primarily to the company’s position in the search market. The German states that Europe should think carefully about possible measures to prevent abuse of power.

With his comments, Maas mainly refers to the search algorithms that Google uses. These have a major influence on the displayed search results. According to the minister, Google must provide more transparency in how its algorithms work and what changes it makes.

Maas does not say how Google should provide more transparency. He does state that the ultimate consequence of a reluctant Google could be that the company should be split up. Google has always refused to disclose how its search engine works “under the hood” because the company considers its algorithms one of its most important business secrets.

Google has a market share of more than 90 percent in Europe. The American company is currently under the magnifying glass due to possible distortions of competition. Google has indicated several times that it wants to make concessions, but according to the EU, these still do not go far enough and the investigation is still ongoing. The regulators may even start an investigation into possible abuse of its dominant position by Google with its Android operating system.