Several Google products will soon be upgraded to deliver precise and accurate information in accordance with European Union consumer protection laws. Following discussions with the Consumer Protection Cooperation Network (CPC) in 2021, the Alphabet-owned company has agreed to implement changes to Google Store, Google Play Store, Google Hotels, and Google Flights, says the European Commission on Thursday.
EU Commissioner for Justice, Didier Reynders, in a statement, stated that “There has been an increase in the number of consumers who 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. The commitments made by Google are a step forward in this direction.”
Google Flights and Google Hotels will soon make it obvious when reference prices are utilized for discounts that are displayed on the site. These services will also distinguish between services that Google offers and cases in which it serves as an intermediary for other businesses. As part of its agreement to uphold the same standards of transparency as other lodging booking websites like Booking.com and Expedia, Google will make it clear that it does not independently check its reviews.
Consumers will start receiving clearer information on delivery costs, the right to withdraw, and the availability of repair or replacement choices when available, all this and more are changes to come to Google’s Play Store and Google Store. Companies will also be given more details, such as their names, addresses, and contact details. Along with enabling users to use payment methods from any EU member state, Google will also make it clearer how to navigate versions of the Google Play Store that are available in different countries and assist in improvements to app accessibility across the EU.
The European authorities are still putting pressure on Google to adhere strictly to their geo-blocking laws. Even though Google claims users can switch their country of residency once a year to access local apps and services of another EU Member State, the CPC claims this violates geo-blocking laws because the location shift may result in the loss of content and unpaid credit. In order to ensure that consumers can access the same content and exercise the same rights no matter where they are in the EU, Reynders said, “We urge Google to comply completely with the Geo-blocking Regulation.”
Additionally, Google has committed to restricting its ability to unilaterally cancel purchases or alter pricing in the Google Store and would work with European consumer protection agencies directly to remove illegal content via a designated email address.
Google has not stated when it will update its services or if it will offer consumers outside the EU clearer, and more accurate information.