The European Commission is now seeking feedback on Google's cosmetic search result changes that aim to settle a years-long antitrust investigation. The EC also revealed some images illustrating what Google's results could soon look like.
As we've previously reported, Google has committed to proposed clearer labeling for desktop and mobile search results so users can more easily figure out products that belong to Google. Additionally, Google says it will clearly display three "Rival Links" to make searchers aware of Google alternatives for the next five years.
What will Google search results look like in Europe exactly? This EC document provides all the details.
Google Shopping Results
Here's what Google Shopping results look like right now:
And here's what the revised search results will look like.
After the proposed change, "Shop for dslr camera on Google" now is clearly labeled "Google Shopping Results," with the Sponsored link located directly to the right, and everything is contained in one single box. And rather than "Shop by brand," Google would put the option to search on three non-Google sites.
Clicking on the info button beside the "Sponsored" notation will bring up an explanatory message: "This link is inserted to show more results from Google's Shopping results. For shopping results from other relevant providers, click on the links to other search sites below or see Google's other search results."
Google Places Search
On searches that trigger Google local results, Google will mark links to its reviews as "Google Places Search", and also include the option to search local results on three "other relevant providers" to the right on desktop searches, or "Other sites" for mobile searches:
As with the Shopping results, clicking on "Other sites" would bring up three links to "Other local search sites":
Google News Results & Image Search
Searches that include news results will also be revised with clearer labeling. Here's what a search for [obama] looks like now:
And here's what the revised search results would look like:
This proposed change changes the wording of "News for Obama" to "Google News Search" and adds an additional link, "More Google news results for obama". Clicking on the info button in these search results will bring up this explanatory message: "This link and the 'More Google news results' link below are inserted to show more results from Google's own specialised news search pages."
Google's proposal to the commission also includes an offer that gives publishers the ability to "control the content displayed on Google News" by excluding content; specifying a date web pages should no longer appear; and prevent the display of snippets for articles.
Similarly to Google News, when Google includes Image search results within its regular search results, it would be labeled "Google Image Search":
Are Google's Changes Enough?
Despite these proposed changes, the EU antitrust case isn’t over. V3 provides more additional analysis in "Lawyers see wisdom in Google’s search peace offerings".
Are these changes significant enough to appease rival companies such as Microsoft? So far, Foundem CEO Shivaun Raff wasn't very impressed, telling the Telegraph it's a "half-hearted attempt to dilute [Google's] anti-competitive effects. ... Without robust guidelines that guarantee the placement, depth, prominence, and relevance of these links, and guarantee that the selection of competitors will be free from anti-competitive penalties and discrimination, neither measure will make a dent in Google’s ability to hijack the traffic and revenues of its rivals."
Do you think Google's changes go far enough?