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EU presses Google to reform

European Union institutions are piling pressure on Google to change the way it operates its business and applies EU rules.

The European Parliament today approved a non-binding resolution that calls for the unbundling of search engines from other services internet companies offer.

EU antitrust authorities are currently investigating Google to see whether it is abusing its position following allegations it is biased in linking search results to its own services.

The resolution was approved 384-174 with 56 abstentions.

Yesterday, an EU data protection group advised "the right to be forgotten" rule that requires Google to delete upon request information that unfairly tarnishes an individual's reputation should be expanded from addresses like .de and .fr to the general .com domains.

The resolution could in theory lead to the break-up of giant internet companies like Google.

EU digital economy commissioner Guenther Oettinger underscored the resolution is "an important expression of opinion", but he added the EU is far from tearing digital multinationals apart.

"I don't think, at the end of the day, that the breaking up as such is what we can expect," Mr Oettinger said. "Rather we are talking about the consistent and correct implementation of EU legislation to ensure that the interests" of EU businesses and consumers are maintained.

Competitors in Europe, where Google has an internet search market share of about 90%, have complained about the way the company gives preference to its own Google-branded services at the top of search result pages, especially when consumers are likely to be searching for something to buy.

The EU Commission made it clear that the resolution will not have an impact on the investigation into Google by antitrust authorities.

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