Friday recap: Google’s €2.4 billion fine, improved business listings in Search and Facebook reaches 2 billion users
This week Google dominated the news, not just in the content marketing world but across mainstream media as well.
The bombshell that is the €2.4 billion fine against Google by the European Commission has been all over the headlines and is possibly the biggest hit that Google has suffered in some time. In this recap, we look into why the fine was administered, as well as Google’s response to the situation.
Other Google updates this week include changes to local business displays in Search, new site testing tools available and a new look for Google News.
Meanwhile, at Facebook, the company is celebrating its latest milestone of reaching two billion users worldwide.
Google slapped with €2.4 billion fine
Earlier this week Google was all over the headlines, due to fines brought against the company by the European Commission (EU).
The press release was published online on 27 June on the EU’s Press Release Database, outlining the fine and the reasons for the action.
“The European Commission has fined Google €2.42 billion for breaching EU antitrust rules. Google has abused its market dominance as a search engine by giving an illegal advantage to another Google product, its comparison shopping service” the release stated.
The release goes on to explain the antitrust violation in detail, specifically indicating that Google is giving preference to Google Shopping over other similar services online. The EU alleges that Google is unfairly pushing results for its own shopping service to the top of the results, over other sites that should technically outrank Google Shopping.
The second allegation is that Google not only gives preference to its own shopping site but that it also demotes other sites it competes with, by pushing them down in search results.
The EU has given Google 90 days to cease the conduct or risk facing further penalties.
Google has published a post on its official blog in response to the EUs allegations. The company is defending its actions and denying that search results are skewed to favour Google Shopping. Instead, the post explains that the reason Google Shopping is ranking higher than competitors is because people would prefer to be taken directly to a product than a different site.
“We believe the European Commission’s online shopping decision underestimates the value of those kinds of fast and easy connections. While some comparison shopping sites naturally want Google to show them more prominently, our data shows that people usually prefer links that take them directly to the products they want, not to websites where they have to repeat their searches.” Google said.
The company has outright disagreed with the allegations by the EU, and says it is considering making an appeal.
Local businesses now have improved search results
Google My Business, a tool for local businesses and brands to get found in Search, is making Posts available to these users so they can improve their Search listings.
Posts are the cards that appear under a business listing in Google search results, which usually contain things like events, top products, daily specials or promotional offers. The Posts also contain a section to include a custom CTA, such as ‘learn more’ or ‘register now’.
This is a great development for small businesses who have been working on their Google listing and improving their SEO. As well as your contact details and location, you can now entice users to visit your site with some of your best content, and even get them to convert directly from the search results page.
Posts are available for Google My Business users now, through Android and iOS apps or the desktop site.
New site testing tools
This week Google has released a new tool that will help businesses test their site’s average speed on mobile devices.
Google said that “most sites lose half their visitors while loading, and 46% of people say that the most frustrating thing about browsing on their phone is waiting for slow pages to load.”
In response to this data, a set of new features has been introduced to Test My Site to help businesses identify where the issues with site speed may lie.
The new features include a test of the mobile site speed, an estimate of the loss of visitors, a comparison to competitors and some tips on how to improve the speed, with a full report put together by Google.
To test your mobile site speed and check out the new features, visit the Test My Site page here.
Google News gets a new look
Google has redesigned its news section to make it easier to access and navigate. Google said it was with a “renewed focus on facts, diverse perspectives, and more control for users.”
Each result has been changed to a card format, to make related results easier to identify. Story cards include the content at a glance, with tags that you can use to explore related topics in more depth. Publisher names and article labels have been made more prominent, and a dedicated navigation column has been introduced to the left-hand side for easy switching between topics and areas of interest.
There is also a new navigation bar at the top of the page which separates news stories into Headlines, Local and For You, with the option of selecting your ‘local’ country.
Other updates include a Full Coverage page, dedicated Fact Check block, related videos in the video player and more advanced user settings.
The update should be available worldwide within days.
2 billion users on Facebook
Facebook reached another milestone this week – 2 billion users worldwide.
After releasing its Q1 report for 2017, monthly user numbers were at 1.94 billion and looked to be steadily creeping upwards.
The 2 billion mark was officially announced by Mark Zuckerberg on his Facebook profile, and then later reaffirmed by a post on the Facebook Newsroom blog.
Facebook said that “Each day, more than 175 million people share a Love reaction, and on average, over 800 million people like something on Facebook. More than 1 billion people use Groups every month.”
With no evidence of slowing down anytime soon, it’s anyone’s guess as to how far Facebook’s reach will grow and what it will take on next.