Google unveils major changes for Digital Markets Act compliance


Google announced several upcoming changes aimed at ensuring compliance with the European Union’s Digital Markets Act (DMA), which is set to take effect this week.

Why we care. New rules coming into effect may impact businesses, particularly with adjustments to Google SERPs potentially leading to reduced traffic for direct suppliers such as hotels and restaurants. However, Google has assured that it collaborated with the European Commission to strike a balance during the implementation of compliance measures.

Changes to Search results: Google has recently made more than 20 changes to its products. It’s added dedicated units and chips to help users find comparison sites for things like flights, hotels, and shopping. As part of these updates, certain features, like the Google Flights unit, have been removed from the search results page, affecting how consumers find businesses.

Choice screens. Google plans to introduce more choice screens based on user research, testing, and industry feedback. You will see the additional screens when your setup an Android phones, and soon they will also be incorporated into Chrome for desktop and iOS devices as well.

Additional consents for linking Google services: Google is now giving users in the EEA the option to decide if they want their data shared across various Google services through linking. Users may also see new consent banners that prompt them to choose whether they wish to link their Google services.

Additionally, Google is enhancing its advertising products and tools to help advertisers with clearly communicating and obtaining consent for the data they collect, aligning with its established EU end-user consent policy.

External offers program. Starting March 6, Google Play is making it easier for app developers to guide users in the EEA to external websites directly from their apps. This allows developers to promote offers and share information outside the app more conveniently, following new guidelines in the Digital Markets Act (DMA).

Data and analytics:  Google, in adherence to the DMA, is now offering advertisers and publishers in the EEA additional campaign data beyond the pricing information already provided. This additional information will be shared in a way that prioritizes user privacy and protects commercially-sensitive customer information.

Data portability: Google is introducing the Data Portability API for developers in the EEA this week to meet new requirements regarding the transfer of data to third-party apps or services. After undergoing beta testing, this API aims to facilitate the seamless movement of user data in compliance with the latest regulations.

Concerns. Google said it has approached compliance with transparency and meaningful product changes, even in instances when it had concerns that some rules could reduce the choices available to people and businesses in Europe. However, the tech giant explained that consistent interpretation and enforcement of these new rules across all the designated companies will be critical in ensuring a level playing field for European businesses and consumers in the future.

Moving forward. Beyond the March deadline, Beyond the March deadline, Google plans to keep working with the European Commission to ensure it continues to offer products and services that are “helpful, safe and compliant to people and businesses in Europe.”

What Google is saying. Oliver Bethell, Director, Competition at Google, said in a statement:

  • “A number of the new rules involve difficult trade-offs that will impact the people and businesses who use our products. For example, changes to our Search results may send more traffic to large intermediaries and aggregators, and less traffic to direct suppliers like hotels, airlines, merchants and restaurants.”
  • “For consumers, some of the features that we have developed to help people get things done quickly and securely online — like providing recommendations across different products — won’t work in the same way anymore.”
  • “We have sought to balance various important issues and engage with relevant stakeholders about these trade-offs as we implement our compliance measures.

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Deep dive. Read Google’s announcement in full for more information.

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