Google’s new search engine rollout in Europe: What you need to know

Google is bracing for changes in how it will operate across Europe as lawmakers finalize new sweeping regulations aimed at curbing anti-competitive behaviour by Big Tech gatekeepers.

The European Union’s Digital Markets Act, set to take effect in 2024, introduces constraints around targeted advertising, preferential rankings, and interoperability for major players like Google designated as holding substantial market control.

In moves to get ahead of compliance, Google has begun rolling out search revamps and choice screens in the EU focused on giving users more options around defaults when using the tech giant’s products.

Changes will include alternatives presented alongside apps like Google Maps or Chrome when consumers first startup their phones. Mandatory choice windows will also request explicit consent for personalized ads to be shown based on tracked user data.

More major pre-emptive changes are imminent as the DMA legislation formalizes how messaging, voice assistants, and app store ecosystems operate across Google, Apple, Meta and Microsoft offerings popular across Europe.

The DMA represents the EU’s most aggressive push yet to wrangle growing big tech power and address antitrust concerns through regulation by imposing overarching rules of conduct on gatekeepers. Google’s early moves underscore preparation coming into 2024 is already underway.

Google’s Compliance with the DMA: New Search Features

In response to the DMA, Google is introducing a range of new search enhancements.

These enhancements include a carousel-style rich result for travel-related queries, such as “hotels near me”. Aggregator units showcase links to major aggregator websites relevant to the user’s search. Refinement chips enable users to filter search results more precisely.

Features to improve the visibility of airline websites for flight-related queries have also been introduced.

The carousel-style rich results will enhance the visibility of specific search results by displaying them in a scannable and visually appealing horizontal format. This new format will allow users to horizontally scroll through tiles showing additional information like prices, ratings, and images.

The carousel results depend on web pages having the appropriate structured data markup. Without that markup, pages will continue showing the standard text search results.

Google is also implementing new search features that provide direct links to content from aggregator websites in top search results. Additionally, Google is adding refinement chips that allow searchers to narrow down results to specific types of content.

Implications for EEA-Based Companies and Users

These new search features are exclusively available to users in the EEA to comply with the DMA. Google invites EEA-based companies or those serving EEA users to express interest in these new search features by filling out a form.

Through these changes, Google aims to create a more user-focused and competitive digital market in line with DMA goals while providing businesses with new opportunities in search results.

As the enforcement date approaches, Google intends to comply with the DMA while maintaining user experience. Companies have a six-month transition period before the DMA fully takes effect.

However, it’s important to note that these changes are exclusive to the EEA. This means that companies based in the EEA or those serving EEA users will be the primary beneficiaries of these new features. As such, these companies are encouraged to express their interest in these new search features to fully leverage the benefits they offer.

Looking ahead, as the DMA enforcement date draws near, Google, along with other designated gatekeepers, will need to make significant adjustments to their products and services. This transition period will be crucial for these companies to ensure they comply with the DMA while maintaining a positive user experience.

The DMA’s enforcement will undoubtedly bring about significant changes in the digital market, particularly for large technology companies like Google. However, these changes are not just about compliance with new regulations. They also represent an opportunity for these companies to innovate and improve their services in response to the evolving needs and preferences of users.

Moreover, the DMA’s focus on promoting fair competition and improving data transparency is a positive development for all stakeholders in the digital market. For consumers, it means more choices and better control over their digital experiences. For businesses, it opens up new opportunities to compete on a level playing field and to innovate in ways that deliver value to their customers.

The post Google’s new search engine rollout in Europe: What you need to know appeared first on ClickZ.

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