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European parliament votes to break up Google

The European parliament has voted in favour of Google being broken up, in what is a major decision (to say the least) from the EU.

The vote was a very clear majority too, with Mashable noting that there were 384 votes in favour compared to 174 against (and 56 abstained).

Before we get too carried away, though, Euro politicians are just effectively offering a strong suggestion of what European regulators should be looking at doing, rather than a legislative order – they can’t actually force Google to break up. This vote will put pressure on the European Commission to act, though.

Why would they want to look at breaking Google into different companies? Simply because currently they believe Google could favour its other services when it comes to search engine results, and unfairly promote them – a point which has been a concern for a long time now.

This doesn’t just apply to Google either, but rather to all search engines – though of course Google is the behemoth when it comes to search (particularly in Europe, where it holds around 90 per cent of the market).

The European Commission has spent some four years looking into potential favouritism of services in Google’s search – but as we reported earlier this week, David Balto, former policy director at the US Federal Commission, told Cnet: “If the European Commission wanted to see the structural break up of Google, it would have done that. It hasn’t for good reason.”

Still, Google is likely to have to do some further serious placating given the strength of this vote.

Darren Allan

Darran has over 25 years of experience in digital and magazine publishing as a writer and editor. He's also an author, having co-written a novel published by Little, Brown (Hachette UK). He currently writes news, features and buying guides for TechRadar, and occasionally other Future websites such as T3 or Creative Bloq and he's a copy editor for TechRadar Pro. Darrran has written for a large number of tech and gaming websites/magazines in the past, including Web User and ComputerActive. He has also worked at IDG Media, having been the Editor of PC Games Solutions and the Deputy Editor of PC Home.