Google may have gotten off with a slap on the wrist in the United States for its search practices, but it doesn't look like it will get off so easily in Europe.
Joaquín Almunia, the European Union's competition chief, told the Financial Times Thursday he believes European regulators will demand Google change the way its own products are displayed in search or else face hefty fines for "diverting traffic" away from competitors' products.
"We are still investigating, but my conviction is [Google] are diverting traffic," Almunia told the Financial Times.
European regulators have been investigating for two years whether Google is taking advantage of its dominant position in online search to drive traffic to its other products, such as Google Maps or Google Flight Search.
"They are monetising this kind of business, the strong position they have in the general search market and this is not only a dominant position, I think I fear there is an abuse of this dominant position," added Almunia.
The U.S. Federal Trade Commission was conducting a similar investigation but ultimately decided Google's search behavior was legal, it announced last week. Google did, however, agree to change its patent licensing procedures and allow websites to opt-out of having their content scraped without hurting their Search Engine Optimization.
Europe is also conducting investigations of those subjects. Almunia told the Financial Times that Europe's decision regarding Google's practices of patent licensing and content scraping would "not be weaker" than that given by the FTC.