In response, Google changed the conditions in its AdSense contracts with large third parties, giving them more leeway to display competing search ads.
According to the European Commission, back in 2006 Google began including "exclusivity clauses" in its contracts which prevented publishers from placing ads from rivals such as Microsoft and Yahoo on search pages.
"Today the commission has fined Google 1.49 billion euros ($1.69 billion) for illegal misuse of its dominant position in the market for the brokering of online search adverts", EU Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager said.
The shopping fine came after seven years of investigation launched by complaints from other price-comparison services that lost 90 percent of traffic against Google Shopping.
The fine is the third time the commission has sanctioned Google for violating antitrust regulations. Google now restricts choice by ensuring its own ads, served through AdSense, are featured on third-party websites exclusively, and therefore are the sole gateway to people's spending, according to the EU. It brings the company's total bill to 8.2 billion euros following nearly a decade of investigations into its shopping practices, Android rules and advertising dominance.
"We've always agreed that healthy, thriving markets are in everyone's interest", Kent Walker, senior vice-president of global affairs, said in a statement. A year earlier, Google received a then-record 2.4 billion-euro penalty after regulators accused it of skewing results to thwart smaller shopping search services.
But for years, AdSense contracts also gave Google a wide range of control in how the ads work, the European Union says.
The Commission said, "Google reserved for itself by far the most valuable commercial space on those websites, while at the same time controlling how rival search adverts could appear".
Through AdSense for Search, Google provides these search adverts to owners of "publisher" websites. Companies who wanted to use that feature were also able to run adverts against the results, using a feature called AdSense for search.
The Commission said that Google's practices harmed competition and stifled innovation. You won't leave Ars Technica; instead you'll get a customized version of Google Search embedded in arstechnica.com, complete with Google Ads above the results.
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