* Follows commitments by Internet search group
* Google had risked heavy fines
(Writes through; adds Google statement, background)
ROME, Jan 17 Italy's antitrust authority closed
a probe into whether Google coerced local newspapers into
posting stories on its news site, it said on Monday, accepting
commitments proposed by the internet search group.
The probe was opened in August 2009 after the Italian
Federation of Newspaper Editors alleged that any publication
refusing to appear on the Google News Italia website was
excluded from Google's search engine.
Italy's antitrust agency chief had urged Google to talk with
Italian publishers to resolve the issue, or risk heavy fines.
Google has now ensured newspaper publishers will not have
content excluded from the search engine and pledged to disclose
revenue-sharing mechanisms, the authority said.
Google said in a statement it had addressed the concerns of
"While we comply with Italian and EU competition laws, we
also understand that there is always room for improvement in our
business," it said.
The editors' association represents media groups such as RCS
Mediagroup and L'Espresso, among others.
(Writing by Catherine Hornby; Editing by David Holmes)