Google and antitrust: A settlement between the search firm and the European Union takes shape

Within a few days the future of Google has come into slightly sharper focus. In one respect, almost literally so: on April 15th the search giant said that it was about to start sending Google Glass — a computer resembling spectacles, with a display before the user’s eyes — to developers eager to create applications for it. The firm has also published Glass’s technical specifications and the rules for developers. Among other things, Glass apps must be free of advertising. Nor may data from them be used for advertisements.One day this may change: ads, after all, are how Google makes its money. But far more important for now is the extra clarity about how Google will conduct business in the European Union. More than three years after Joaquín Almunia, the EU’s competition commissioner, first received formal complaints that Google was abusing its dominance of online search, the commissioner and the company have agreed on how Google should change its ways. As expected, Google is conceding more to Mr Almunia than it has to America’s Federal Trade Commission, which completed its own investigation in January. It will also avoid formal charges and fines.

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