Google lists improvements that only users from the EU will get
Google published a list of changes to some of its products and services that it plans to launch before March 6, 2024 to users from the EU.
Companies like Google react to the Digital Markets Act, which aims to make digital markets fairer and open. The EU identified several large online platforms as gatekeepers and has created a list of obligations for these gatekeepers.
Gatekeepers, for instance, may not prevent the removal of pre-installed apps on their systems or track end users outside of their core platforms without user consent.
Google lists four changes to its services on The Keyword blog as a direct reaction to the Digital Markets Act.
Consent for sharing data between Google services
Google collects and shares data between its own services by default. Search, advertising, YouTube and several others exchange user data. Users in the EU have to give consent to this form of sharing. By default, data will no longer be exchanged between services. EU users may already manage the Google Services that may or may not exchange data.
Affected services are: Search, YouTube, Google Play, Ad services, Chrome, Google Shopping, Google Maps.
Google notes that some features "may be limited or unavailable" as a consequence, but fails to mention any in particular.
Search results changes
EU users who searching with buying intentions, e.g., for a hotel or laptop, will get a new dedicated unit in the search results that shows group of links from comparison sites "from across the web" and "query shortcuts at the top of the search page to help people refine their searches".
Google will also test dedicated spaces for comparison sites and direct suppliers "to show more detailed individual results". The company notes that some current units, like Google Flights, will be removed from search as a consequence.
Users from the EU will get browser and search engine choice screens on Android and in Google Chrome.
These include a selection of popular options of the user's region. Suggestions are displayed in random order and users may pick any of the listed services.
Talks about browser and search choice prompts for users from the EU started in 2019 already.
Data portability improvements
Google is working on a Data Portability API that is linked to data provided by Google Takeout. The idea is to give third-party apps and services access to the data so that they may prompt users to import their Google data to these services.
Google is not the only company identified as a gatekeeper that is making fundamental changes to its products. Microsoft announced a range of changes in Windows for users from the European Union that include options to uninstall native apps like Microsoft Edge and make other changes to the system.
Competing browser makers saw downloads increase significantly after the browser ballot screens were displayed to users.
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