Google has agreed to change its data portability tools to settle an investigation by the Italian competition authority AGCM. The regulator opened a probe last year following a complaint that Google was abusing its dominant position by making it difficult for users to export their data to other services.
In a statement, the AGCM said it accepted commitments proposed by Google that are aimed at enhancing users’ ability to extract their data and share it with other platforms.
Specifically, Google will introduce new features to its Google Takeout data export service, making it easier for users to transfer their information to third-party operators.
The group, in fact, presented a package of three commitments, two of which envisage supplementary solutions to Takeout – the service Google makes available to end users for backing up their data – to facilitate the export of data to third-party operators.
The company has also pledged to develop a new tool, to be launched next year, that will enable other digital service providers to access user-generated data from Google Search and YouTube directly.
The third commitment offers the possibility to start testing, before its official release, a new solution – currently under development – that will allow direct data portability from service to service for third-party operators authorized by end-users who so request, about data provided by the users themselves or generated through their activity on Google’s online search engine and YouTube platform.
The AGCM said these commitments are suitable to address concerns over competition in the user data portability market. The authority argued that Google’s alleged behavior could limit the economic benefits consumers derive from their data.
Google welcomed the decision, saying it is investing in data portability to protect user privacy and security. The company said the changes will improve the user experience.
The settlement comes amid increased regulatory scrutiny of Google’s online advertising and search dominance. In 2021, the EU opened a formal antitrust investigation into the company to determine whether it favored its online display advertising technology services.
On the other hand, earlier this month, Google accused the Indian antitrust committee of using its position as the enforcing body to protect Amazon’s interest in the Indian market.