Microsoft and other interested parties that have antitrust complaints against Google in Europe are not happy with the concessions the search giant is ready to make, adding a study that tracks eye movement to prove Google’s misconduct when it comes to promoting its services in search at the expense of competitors. Microsoft’s Initiative for Competitive Online Marketplace (ICOMP) commissioned a study from the German Sports University in Köln to track the eyes of users performing Google searches in the region. The study revealed that Google users are more likely to click on a search result leading to a Google service than to a service from a different company.
But, as GigaOM puts it, the results of the study shouldn’t be that surprising considering that Google search has a 90% market share in the region, meaning that its customers are already “conditioned” in using the company’s services in a certain way, one that may lead to them becoming blind to other search results.
The EU antitrust case against Google started more than three years ago, in early 2010, with the European Commission looking into Google’s promoting its own services in search results and other search and ad-related business practices. Since then, the company has proposed various concessions to make it all go away, but the Commission is still not ready to… make it all go away, as it awaits from further feedback from affected parties, like this eye-tracking study.
“Results for the search term ‘iPod’ reveal that thumbnail product pictures guide the visual attention of users to ‘Google Shopping Results’ with 56% of participants clicking into this area. While the ‘alternative search sites’ caught less visual attention and only clicked once, indicating little interest from users.” (ICOMP study) | Image via GigaOM
Microsoft and Google are competing in multiple business, search being just one of them. In addition to lawsuits, the former has targeted Google multiple times with its “Scroogled” ad campaign, mostly meant to raise awareness among Internet users about their personal data being used by Google to target them with personalized ads. The irony is that Microsoft can use similar practices targeting consumers with relevant ads.