Many of Google’s offerings will soon be updated to provide clear and accurate information in compliance with consumer protection laws in the EU. Announced by the European Commission on Thursday, the Alphabet-owned company has agreed to introduce changes to Google Store, Google Play Store, Google Hotels, and Google Flights following discussions with the Consumer Protection Cooperation Network (CPC) in 2021.
“We see an increasing number of consumers turn to the internet to book their holidays, make purchases, or consult a review. EU consumers are entitled to clear, complete information so that they can make informed choices,” said EU Commissioner for Justice, Didier Reynders, in a statement. “The commitments made by Google are a step forward in this direction.”
Google Hotels will now follow the same transparency commitments as Booking.com and Expedia
Soon Google Flights and Google Hotels will clearly distinguish between services offered by Google and instances where it acts as an intermediary for other companies, and clarify when reference prices are used for discounts advertised on the platform. Google will also make clear that Google Hotels doesn’t verify its reviews, and has agreed to follow the same transparency commitments as other accommodation platforms like Booking.com and Expedia.
Changes coming to Google’s Play Store and Google Store include providing consumers with clearer information on delivery costs, right of withdrawal, and availability of repair or replacement options where available. Additional information will also be provided on companies, including business names, addresses, and contact information. Google will also clarify how to browse other countries’ versions of the Google Play Store and facilitate improvements in app accessibility across the EU, alongside permitting consumers to use payment methods from any EU country.
The EU is calling on Google to fully comply with its geo-blocking regulations
Google is still under pressure from European authorities to fully comply with EU geo-blocking regulations. While Google says that users can change their country of residence once a year in order to access local apps and services of another EU Member State, the CPC argues this infringes on geo-blocking regulations as the location change can result in a loss of content and outstanding credit. “We call on Google to comply fully with the Geo-blocking Regulation, ensuring that consumers can enjoy the same rights and access the same content, wherever they are in the EU,” said Reynders.
Google has additionally agreed to limit its right to independently cancel orders or change prices in the Google Store and will communicate directly with European consumer protection authorities to remove illegal content via a dedicated email address.
Google has not announced when it will be updating its services, or if clearer, more accurate information for consumers will be extended beyond f the EU.