Last year the European Union enacted a new regulation called the Digital Markets Act (DMA), which applies to companies who have been designated as “Gatekeepers.” These new rules come into force in March, so we have begun testing and rolling out a number of changes to our products to get ready. People and businesses in Europe will begin to see those changes in the coming weeks and so we wanted to explain what we’re doing.
As we test and roll out these changes, some of the Google products you use may look and work differently. For example:
- Additional consents for linked services: We currently share data across some Google products and services for certain purposes, including to help personalize your content and ads, depending on your settings. Over the next few weeks, we will be presenting European users with an additional consent banner to ask them whether some services can continue to share data for those purposes. If services aren’t linked, some features may be limited or unavailable. Users can change their choices anytime in their Google Account settings.
- Changes to Search results: When you are searching for something like a hotel, or something to buy, we often show information to help you find what you need, like pictures and prices, as part of our results. Sometimes this can be as part of a result for a single business like a hotel or restaurant, or sometimes it can be a featured group of relevant results. Over the coming weeks in Europe, we will be expanding our testing of a number of changes to the search results page. We will introduce dedicated units that include a group of links to comparison sites from across the web, and query shortcuts at the top of the search page to help people refine their search, including by focusing results just on comparison sites. For categories like hotels, we will also start testing a dedicated space for comparison sites and direct suppliers to show more detailed individual results including images, star ratings and more. These changes will result in the removal of some features from the search page, such as the Google Flights unit.
- Choice screens: When you use an Android phone, you can easily switch your default search engine or browser. Under the DMA, we and other designated companies will need to show additional choice screens. You may start to see these on Android phones as you set up a device, and on your Chrome app on desktop and iOS devices.
- Data portability: For over a decade we have offered users the ability to download or transfer a copy of their data from more than 80 Google products. We continue to make investments in Google Takeout, the Data Transfer Initiative and data portability more broadly. To meet new requirements around moving your data to a third-party app or service, we will soon be testing a Data Portability API for developers.
Over the last few months we have been seeking feedback on our changes from the European Commission and from stakeholders like developers, advertisers and companies who will be affected by them. While we support many of the DMA’s ambitions around consumer choice and interoperability, the new rules involve difficult trade-offs, and we’re concerned that some of these rules will reduce the choices available to people and businesses in Europe.
Today is an update on an ongoing process. We’ll share more details on the final changes we are making to comply with the new rules ahead of the March deadline.