Many of Google’s offerings will soon be updated to provide clear and accurate information in compliance with EU consumer protection laws. Announced by the European Commission Thursdaythe company, which is owned by Alphabet, has agreed to make changes to the Google Store, Google Play Store, Google Hotels and Google Flights following discussions with the Consumer Protection Cooperation Network (CPC) in 2021.
“We see that more and more consumers turn to the internet to book their holiday, make a purchase or consult a review. EU consumers have a right to clear, complete information so that they can make informed choices,” EU Justice Commissioner Didier Reynders said in a statement. “Google’s commitments are a step forward in this direction.”
Google Hotels now follows the same transparency obligations as Booking.com and Expedia
Soon, Google Flights and Google Hotels will make a clear distinction between services offered by Google and cases 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 it clear that Google Hotels does not verify its reviews and has agreed to do the same transparency obligations like other accommodation platforms such as Booking.com and Expedia.
Changes to the Google Play Store and Google Store include providing consumers with clearer information about delivery costs, the right of withdrawal and the availability of repair or replacement options where available. Additional information about companies will also be provided, including company names, addresses and contact details. Google will also clarify how to browse the versions of the google play store in other countries and enabling improvements in app accessibility across the EU, in addition to allowing consumers to use payment methods from any EU country.
The EU calls on Google to fully comply with geo-blocking rules
Google is still under pressure from European authorities to fully comply with the EU geo-blocking regulations. While Google says users can change their country of residence once a year to access local apps and services from another EU member state, the CPC believes this violates geo-blocking rules as the change of location may result in to loss of content and outstanding credit. “We call on Google to fully comply with the Geo-blocking Regulation so that consumers can enjoy the same rights and access the same content wherever they are in the EU,” said Reynders.
In addition, Google has 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 update its services, or if clearer, more accurate information for consumers will be extended beyond the EU.