Google job search service draws antitrust complaint

A group of job search sites contends the search giant is abusing its dominant position, Reuters reported.

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Google's 2-year-old job search service drew an antitrust complaint in the EU.

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Google faces another antitrust allegation in the European Union -- this time focused on its job search service. A group of 23 job search websites sent a letter to EU competition commissioner Margrethe Vestager saying the search giant abused its dominant position at their expense, according to Reuters.

The company launched the service in 2017, and later amped it up by adding information on salary and the ability to search for jobs by location.

The rival companies alleged that Google's putting a large widget for its service at the top of people's job searches is unfair because it doesn't have to spend any money marketing the service, while traditional job search companies do. They asked Vestager to temporarily order Google to stop doing this while she looks into its practices, Reuters reported.

"We confirm we have received the letter and we will assess it," a European Commission spokesperson wrote an emailed statement.

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Google noted in its own emailed statement that it's "worked with jobs providers" to improve its search function.

"Any provider -- from individual employers to job listing platforms -- can use this feature in search, and many of them have seen a significant increase in the number of job applications they receive. Since launch, we've made a number of changes to address feedback in Europe," a Google spokesperson wrote.

"These changes include testing a new choice carousel at the top of the unit, which links directly to job sites, and linking directly to job offers when they only exist on a single site. Job seekers can decide which result or experience is most relevant for them."

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Earlier this month, the company said it'll prompt European users of its Android operating system to choose their own search engine from 2020, after the European Commission's determination last year that Google could be hampering consumer choice by demanding that its own apps and services must be the preinstalled, default options on Android phones. 

This saw Google getting slapped with a record 4.34 billion euro ($5 billion) antitrust fine, which it's appealing.

In the US, the Department of Justice last month said it's opening an antitrust probe into tech giants, including Google parent company Alphabet, to examine their market power.

First published at 4:11 a.m. PT.
Updated at 6:45 a.m. PT: Adds EC confirmation about the letter.