In South Africa, the Competition Commission announced last month that Google needs to highlight more clearly which results are paid for, potentially disrupting how the search engine operator shows its advertising.
South Africa is the latest country to crack the whip on Google’s search holding. The commission has also focused on Google’s monopoly as the default search engine for Android smartphones.
The search engine operator has enjoyed an unrepentant monopoly in search, both in South Africa and globally, while also dominating mobile operating systems through Android.
The commission’s online platforms market inquiry found “that Google Search plays an essential role in directing consumers to the different platforms and, in this way, shapes platform competition.”
“The prevalence of paid search at the top of the search results page, without adequate identifiers as advertising, raises platform customer-acquisition costs and favours large, often global, platforms,” the commission noted.
“Preferential placement of their own specialist search units also distorts competition in Google’s favour.”