Google has offered to exclude its “Google News Showcase” service from general search results in Germany to end an investigation by the local antitrust regulator, the authority said on Wednesday.

“Google has proposed measures to address our competition concerns,” Andreas Mundt, chairman of the Federal Cartel Authority, said in a statement.

“The company no longer plans to include Showcase content in general search results,” Mundt said.

The regulator said it would now hold consultations in the newspaper publishing industry to determine whether the measures “meet the target”.

Contacted by AFP, Google did not immediately comment on the case.

Launched on the German market in 2020, Google News Showcase offers publishers the possibility of uploading more visible journalistic content.

The American tech giant planned to integrate the new platform into its main search results, which would have multiplied the audience for the material.

The regulator has opened an investigation after the filing of a complaint by the Corint Media publishing group, which manages the rights of radio and television stations, as well as online news sites.

The publisher feared that media groups that had not signed an agreement with Google would see their content relegated to search results.

The integration of Google News Showcase into search results was “clearly designed to draw the attention of users to the new Google-owned news service and its news content,” Corint said in a statement at the time. opening of the investigation.

“This exploits Google’s near-monopoly position in the search engine market in an abusive manner to the detriment of newspaper publishers not participating in the service,” the group said.

The regulator also examined whether publishers who have reached an agreement with Google would be prevented from fully enforcing their so-called neighboring rights, which would allow outlets to demand compensation for the use of their content.

Negotiations over Showcase would be “clearly separated from ongoing negotiations over other ancillary copyright payments” in response to the issue, the regulator said.

Google has also assured that access to the service will be based on “objective criteria”, and will not discriminate between publishers for other reasons, including financial.

The announcement comes days after the regulator classified Google as a company of “paramount importance in all markets”, opening the door to increased surveillance of the tech giant.


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