Type “running shoes,” “best laptop” or “camping equipment” into Google from just about anywhere in the world and the top of the screen will show a carousel of ads from websites promoting products to browse and compare.
Not in Turkey. Google eliminated those advertisements last year after Turkish antitrust officials ordered the company to make it easier for competing shopping websites to appear more prominently in the ads.
The Turkish demands went further to crack down on Google’s shopping service than any other global regulator had to that point. But that was not all. In April, the country’s officials made another bold move, saying the company’s lucrative search function for finding local destinations like “nearby pharmacy” violated antitrust laws, a first-of-its-kind decision that threw that service’s future into question, too.
The tension between Turkey and Google reflects how growing animosity toward Silicon Valley giants is popping up even in places, like Turkey, with little history of antitrust enforcement against the industry. The efforts threaten to upend conditions — an open global internet and light-touch government regulation — that have helped fuel the growth of those companies in the past two decades. In their place could be a checkerboard of laws and regulations, where the available products and services depend on where a person logs on.
Google has been a constant target. This month, French antitrust authorities fined Google 500…