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Google如何讓本地搜尋結果損害消費者,以及歐盟執行執委會的行動。



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今天,歐盟執行執委會宣佈Google違反了反壟斷條款,由於她們涉及操控搜尋結果,從而利益自己的搜尋服務。因此,歐盟決定對Google作出破具代表性及紀錄的20億4千2百萬歐元罰款,並要求Google在90天內終止所有對同業競爭對手的不公平行為。我們讚揚歐盟委員會致力於恢復網上搜尋平台之間的良性競爭,保障消費者的利益。

Google被要求停止作出反競爭的行為

Google被裁定在為了推廣自家的多方位搜尋服務時作出過違法的行為。儘管被裁定違規的是Google提供的購物服務,但歐盟執行執委會同時也有在其它Google有提供的服務上察覺到相同的行為,其中包括本地搜尋服務。裁決要求Google即時停止及移除所有已有並對同業不公平,目的為了保障自己旗下服務的行為。這裁決有助於Google全面關注他們有影響到網上搜尋完整性及公平性的行為及內容,從而作出相關適當的修正。

本地搜尋的重要性

本地搜尋是網上世界的其中一個重要元素,也可以被視作網上搜尋及現實商業之間的橋樑。本地搜尋的例子可以是:要在德國慕尼黑找一個兒科醫生、要在西班牙巴塞羅那找飯店、或者是在丹麥哥本哈根的中餐廳、等等。這些例子都是要在一個大而廣的分類內搜尋。他們的數量約佔桌上電腦所作出的搜尋總數的三分之一,而在行動裝置或是手機更是佔超過一半以上。在預先分別安裝在iOS及Android裝置上的Safari及Chrome,Google佔有98%的行動裝置或是手機搜尋次數。

歐盟執行執委會在收到多間包括歐美公司、企業甚至是消費者委員會的投訴後,對Google展開了長達7年的調查。Yelp身為作出投訴企業的一份子,我們在過程中配合歐盟提供適當且有用的資料搜證,協助調查。

對美國執法所帶來的影響

歐盟的調查為美國本土內的執法機構提供了藍本。於2013年,聯邦貿易委員會終止了她們對於Google影響搜尋結果的調查。可是,藉著歐盟執委會指出一系列,當中包括為數不少的消費者權益被損害的證據,迫使到聯邦貿易委員會應該要作出適當的行動去保障美國消費者的利益不被受操控的搜尋而損害。

Google的操控如何影響消費者

透過與哥倫比亞法學院教授Tim Wu及哈佛商學院經濟學家Michael Luca合作,Yelp的數據科學團隊發表過一份研究書。研究書的內容重新審視Google有否對自然的搜尋結果作出過壞的影響,以及對消費者所帶來的影響。研究顯示Google的操控確實對消費者有著不良的影響。據該調查所得,用戶對於Google在控制搜尋結果下所提供的”回答框”顯然有著較低的興趣。

任何在要終止Google在美國本土操控搜尋結果的行動上的延遲將只會繼續損害市場的自由競爭及消費者的利益。美國本土的政策制定者應該參考歐盟的調查結果,並作出相關的行動。不論在何地,消費者的福利應該要受到相同的保障。

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