The european union appears to have extracted major concessions from google on how it uses personal data, at least in terms of its acquisition of wearables maker fitbit.
Javier espinoza in brussels reports the eu is poised to approve googles $2.1bn deal for fitbit after new concessions, including a promise not to use fitbit data to target adverts for 10 years.
Google has also offered guarantees that other devices will have access to the health data, with an users consent, on the same terms as google, and that fitbits customers can continue to use services like strava and map my run.
In addition, rival wearable companies will not be hindered from using googles android and cloud platforms. the us company also proposed a monitoring trustee that will be approved by brussels to make sure that google remains compliant with these terms.
The timing seems significant, as the us justice department prepares an antitrust case against alphabet and members of the european parliament debate a new digital services act, which threatens to reign in big techs power and influence.
As javier reported on monday, a new study suggests googles online shopping search engine is still disadvantaging eu rivals despite a regulatory crackdown three years ago that led the search giant to alter its practices.
And popular alternative search engine duckduckgo says the same thing is happening in overall search. a 2018 eu settlement forced google to offer android users an initial choice of several search engines as their default. all, apart from google, have to take part in a bidding process to appear on the list.
Duckduckgo said on monday it had been priced out of the latest auction because we choose to not maximise our profits by exploiting our users. it argues there should be no auction, and instead suggests: alternative search engines with the most market share in each market are shown on the first screen, randomly ordered. the remaining alternative search engines are available by scrolling, also randomly ordered.
That sounds fairer, and the eu should look at this, as well as keeping a close eye on how googles concessions on fitbit pan out for its rivals.
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