Lobby groups FairSearch and iComp said the anti-trust settlement proposal that Google has submitted to the European Union needs to be subjected to market testing.

Rivals of the California-based technology giant issued that response after Google on Friday make public the text of its settlement offer to the European Commission, the EU's executive arm, a proposal obtained in the context of an ongoing antitrust investigation on online search and search advertising.

"We welcome Google's unilateral decision to publish a non-confidential version of its commitments, but will continue to stress the importance of market testing to demonstrate the effectiveness of these commitments to restore competition to search," FairSearch, a lobbying organization supported by Microsoft, Oracle, Nokia and others, said in a statement Friday.

For his part, iComp's legal counsel, David Wood, said of the publishing of details of Google's settlement proposals that "this is an important and necessary step that allows third parties and consumer organizations to see the revised package."

"Google's behavior affects the whole online ecosystem and consumers in particular, so it is vital that all interested parties have the opportunity to review these proposals. It is even more important that the Commission listens to and takes into account their comments and analysis," Wood added.

On Feb. 5, the EC hailed the commitments proposal it received from Google.

"Google has now accepted to guarantee that whenever it promotes its own specialized search services on its Web page (e.g. for products, hotels, restaurants, etc.), the services of three rivals, selected through an objective method, will also be displayed in a way that is clearly visible to users and comparable to the way in which Google displays its own services," the Commission said.

Thanks to its latest concessions and tentative agreement reached with the EC, Google appeared to have avoided some $5 billion in fines.

The agreement will not be subjected to market testing, although the EC said it would provide details about the pact to interested parties and give them the chance to express their views. EFE