Google Tests Links to Rival Local Sites in UK Search Results

Barry Schwartz at Search Engine Roundtable posted about the discovery of a new Google UK local search results page. It displays three links to competitor services:

UK rival links Google SERP

These three “rival links” are part of a package of formal concessions Google has offered to the European Commission to settle the antitrust case against the company. Google has already settled its antitrust case with the US Federal Trade Commission. There’s no similar obligation in the US to direct traffic to rival sites.

These rival links represent a version of what Google has done historically in several different contexts. For example, Google originally linked to Mapquest and Yahoo Maps in addition to its own maps when they initially launched. It still does competitive linking in finance-related SERPs; however it’s tough to see those links:

Screen Shot 2013-09-09 at 6.27.41 AM

After intense lobbying by Microsoft and other companies, the European Commission has asked for additional “concessions” from Google. The company has reportedly now modified its settlement proposal. We’ll soon learn what additional concessions it may have made.

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