Google got away without a scratch from the two-year FTC investigation in the US over monopoly allegations. But it's going to have a harder time doing that in the EU, the European Commission is not known for leniency in these cases and has punished several big American companies to date.
Google may or may not be the next one, we'll find out soon enough. The company has now sent a proposal regarding what it is willing to concede to in a future settlement with the EC.
It waited until the very last second to do it, it had a deadline of January 31 and that's exactly when it sent the document.
In theory, Google made some concessions to the FTC, though most of the things in there are either inconsequential or are things Google was already doing. The FTC's biggest win was a promise from Google to make it easier to export ad campaigns.
It's unclear whether the EC will be satisfied with just that, but it's unlikely, if only because the EC has been more concerned with "search neutrality" issues than with anything else.
The FTC was gunning for that angle too, but try as it might, it didn't find any evidence that Google is unfairly keeping competition out of the search engine market.
If anything, the FTC recognized that Google's changes were always to the benefit of its users, just not its competitors.
But the EC doesn't have to show how users are negatively affected, it just has to show that it's "unfair" which, most of the time, simply means the company is bigger than its competitors.
It's anyone's guess what's inside the settlement proposal Google provided. There are signs though that the EC won't push too hard since, like the FTC, it doesn't really have a case to stand on. Google may start labeling its own results better and do some minor changes to its search engines, but that's pretty much it.