Google hit with antitrust complaint for favoring its own search engine for job searches

Google was the subject of an antitrust complaint on Monday after a Danish online job search competitor filed a complaint with EU regulators alleging that the Alphabet unit had unfairly favored its own job search service. job search.

The complaint could speed up scrutiny of the service, Google for Jobs, by EU antitrust chief Margrethe Vestager, three years after it first came under her microscope. Since then, the EU has not taken any specific measures regarding the online job search sector.

The European Commission and Google did not immediately respond to requests for comment sent out of office hours.

Google, which has been fined more than 8 billion euros ($8.4 billion) by Vestager in recent years for various anti-competitive practices, has previously said it has made changes in Europe after complaints from rivals of online job search.

Launched in Europe in 2018, Google for Jobs drew criticism from 23 online job search sites in 2019. They said they lost market share after the online search giant allegedly used its market power to promote its new service.

Google’s service offers links to aggregated publications from many employers, allowing candidates to filter, save and receive alerts about openings, although they have to go elsewhere to apply. Google places a large widget for the tool at the top of ordinary web search results.

Jobindex, one of 23 critics three years ago, said Google had skewed what was a highly competitive Danish market towards itself through anti-competitive means.

Jobindex founder and CEO Kaare Danielsen said his company had built up the largest jobs database in Denmark by the time Google for Jobs entered the local market last year.

“Nevertheless, in the short time since the introduction of Google for Jobs in Denmark, Jobindex lost 20% of search traffic to Google’s inferior service,” Danielsen told Reuters.

“By placing its own inferior service at the top of results pages, Google effectively hides some of the most relevant job postings from job seekers. Recruiters, in turn, may no longer reach all job seekers , unless they’re using Google’s job service,” he said. .

“This not only stifles competition between recruitment services, but directly harms labor markets, which are at the heart of any economy,” Danielsen said, urging the Commission to order Google to end alleged anti-competitive practices. , impose fines on the company and impose periodic payments to ensure compliance.

Jobindex said it saw examples of free-riding, with some of its own job postings copied without its permission and marketed through Google for Jobs on behalf of Jobindex business partners. He also cited privacy risks for job applicants and his clients.