Google bows to European pressure, here’s what’s changing

Europe is considered a champion in the regulation of digital giants. It is, for example, in the EU that the right to be forgotten or GDPR was born, which today serve as models in the world. And currently the EU is preparing to apply new rules to these big tech players, with the Digital Markets Legislation and the Digital Services Legislation.

Otherwise, a few days ago the European Commission announced new changes that Google will make to its products and services to ensure better consumer protection. This coordinates a Consumer Protection Cooperation (CPC) network, which includes national consumer protection authorities. According to the Commission, following a dialogue that started in 2021, Google agreed to examine the issues raised by national authorities and to make changes.

These changes affect the Google Store, Google Play Store, Google Hotels and Google Flights. According to the European Commission, it aims to ensure that Google products comply with EU consumer protection rules.

What will change on Google products

In its press release, the European Commission also lists the changes that Google is obliged to make on the services in question. For Google Flights and Google Hotels, for example, the company will specify to the consumer whether the contracts are entered into directly with Google or whether the company only acts as an intermediary. And for the discounts indicated on the ads, the Mountain View company also undertakes to provide clear indications of the reference price. Regarding reviews, Google will indicate that these are not verified.

These obligations of Google also include the acceptance “the same transparency obligations as other major hosting platforms in terms of presenting information, for example on pricing or availability, to consumers.” In the Play Store and Google Store, Google is also obliged to provide users with more clarity, for example regarding delivery costs, the right of withdrawal or even the way to contact the company.

And when it comes to the Play Store app store, Google will clearly explain how to use country-specific store versions. Google is also required to inform app developers “their commitment under the geo-blocking regulation to make their apps available throughout the EU and allow consumers to use payment methods from any EU country.”

The EU Commission actually points to the geographical blocking of Google. More precisely, it considers the restrictions imposed by Google on the use of applications to be non-compliant. “which would otherwise be available in the country where the user temporarily resides”. From now on, the CPC will follow the application of the measures to which Google is committed.

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