May 23, 2024
Google introduces new search update to comply with EU tech rules

Google has introduced changes to its search results and unveiled new features for app developers, enabling them to advertise their offerings on third-party applications and competitor app marketplaces. This move comes as the company attempts to comply with landmark EU regulations to restrain the influence of major tech firms.

In a blog post, the tech giant stated that there are 20 product changes, “including the introduction of dedicated units and chips to help users find comparison sites in areas like flights, hotels and shopping.” However, it added that some features, such as the Google Flights unit, had been removed.

Google is among several leading tech companies that must adhere to the Digital Markets Act (DMA) by March 7. Others include Amazon, Apple, Microsoft, Meta Platforms, and TikTok owner ByteDance.

What features has Google introduced?

In January, the California-based company published several new features to its range of services, but they were only available to those in the EU. In the statement, Google said that changes to search results would increase traffic for major intermediaries and aggregators. In contrast, hotels, airlines, merchants, and restaurants will experience a decrease in traffic.

In addition to this, users will be asked for their consent to allow Google to share their data across Google products and services. The Alphabet-owned company explained, “Users may also see new consent banners asking them whether they would like to link their Google services.”

The DMA also requires gatekeeper operating systems to allow users to use third-party apps and app stores. This means that app developers can implement alternative billing systems instead of being restricted to the Google Play Store. A new program will also enable them to direct European users from the app to external platforms to promote their products.

This week, Google is set to introduce data portability software in Europe, simplifying the process for developers to transfer user data to a third-party app or service.

While Google said it will continue to work with the European Commission, it added, “We have approached compliance with transparency and meaningful product changes, even where we have concerns that some rules will reduce the choices available to people and businesses in Europe.”

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Suswati Basu

Freelance journalist

Suswati Basu is a multilingual, award-winning editor and the founder of the intersectional literature channel, How To Be Books. She was shortlisted for the Guardian Mary Stott Prize and longlisted for the Guardian International Development Journalism Award.

With 18 years of experience in the media industry, Suswati has held significant roles such as head of audience and deputy editor for NationalWorld news, digital editor for Channel 4 News
and ITV News. She has also contributed to the Guardian and received training at the BBC As an audience, trends, and SEO specialist, she has participated in panel events alongside Google.

Her career also includes a seven-year tenure at the leading AI company Dataminr, where she led the Europe desk and launched the company’s first employee resource group for disabilities. Before this, Suswati worked as a journalist in China for four years, investigating censorship and the Great Firewall, and acquired proficiency in several languages.

In recent years, Suswati has been nominated for six awards, including the Independent Podcast Awards, International Women’s Podcast Awards, and the Anthem Awards for her literary social affairs show.

Her areas of speciality span a wide range, including technology, Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI), social politics, mental health, and nonfiction books.

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