Google settles French ad case

Google agreed to pay a fine of $270 million and make changes to its online ad tools in a settlement with French regulators announced Monday.

France’s competition watchdog investigation had focused on Google’s alleged abuse of its leading role in the digital advertising sector.

Google did not dispute the facts of the case and opted to settle while proposing changes, according to the Competition Authority.

“The decision to sanction Google is of particular significance because it’s the first decision in the world focusing on the complex algorithmic auction processes on which the online ad business relies,” Isabelle de Sila, the authority’s chief, said in a statement.

Google France’s legal director said that the commitments made will make it easier for ad publishers to use the platform’s data and tools. An independent observer will be assigned to monitor Google’s compliance.

And while the changes are only binding in France, Maria Gomri said Google will be testing its tweaks “over the coming months before rolling them out more broadly, including some globally.”

The settlement announced Monday is one of the first by a tech giant in an antitrust case. It’s also the first time Google has agreed to make changes to its advertising business.