Google Jobs Service Hit By Fresh Antitrust Complaint In Denmark

Google’s job-search service has been hit by an antitrust complaint from a Danish job search company, in a move that could push forward an existing EU probe into the service.

The complaint by Denmark’s Jobindex comes amidst an increasingly hostile regulatory environment for the biggest multinational tech giants, with new EU legislation specifically targeting them — the Digital Markets Act and the Digital Services Act — set to come into force early next year.

Under existing legislation Google has been fined more than 8 billion euros ($8.4bn, £6.8bn) over various anti-competitive charges.

The company says it has made changes to its Google for Jobs service, which launched in Europe in 2018, following previous complaints by European rivals.

Image credit: European Commission

Antitrust complaint

After the service’s initial launch, 23 European competitors in 2019 filed an antitrust complaint saying they had lost market share after Google allegedly used its market power to push its own offering.

The Google service, which aggregates jobs postings from many employers and allows users to filter, save and receive alerts about them before going to an external service to apply, is advertised via a prominent widget at the top of its conventional web searches.

Jobindex told Reuters Google had attracted traffic to its “inferior service” and that it had seen its own traffic drop by 20 percent in spite of offering the largest jobs database in Denmark.

‘Inferior service’

“By putting its own inferior service at the top of results pages, Google in effect hides some of the most relevant job offerings from job seekers. Recruiters in turn may no longer reach all job seekers, unless they use Google’s job service,” Jobindex founder and chief executive Kaare Danielsen told the news service.

He said Google’s actions “stifle” what had been a highly competitive market for recruitment services in the country and also “directly impairs” the labour market, and urged the European COmmission to order Google to stop its practices.

Jobindex said it had also seen some of its own job ads copied and marketed through Google for Jobs on behalf of Jobindex’s business partners, and cited alleged privacy risks to job applicants and its clients.

Google Analytics

Last week the Italian data protection regulator followed those of France and Austria in finding that Google Analytics contravenes EU data protection regulations — which are also in force in the UK — due to the fact that it collects large amounts of user data and exports it to the US without adequate additional privacy protections.

The Garante’s decision was based on the use of Google Analytics by a domestic media firm, Caffeina Media, and follows a July 2020 decision by the EU’s top court, the European Court of Justice, that invalidated the existing Privacy Shield data transfer agreement between the EU and the US.

Matthew Broersma

Matt Broersma is a long standing tech freelance, who has worked for Ziff-Davis, ZDnet and other leading publications

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