Google lists improvements that only users from the EU will get

Martin Brinkmann
Jan 18, 2024

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.

Choice screens

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.

Closing Words

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.

The changes are far reaching and not comparable to the browser choice screen that Microsoft had to display to users from the EU back in 2010 and then again in Windows 8.

Competing browser makers saw downloads increase significantly after the browser ballot screens were displayed to users.

Now You: what is your take on the DMA and the changes to Google services?

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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. 
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  1. John said on January 19, 2024 at 9:40 pm

    Well these companies like Google and Microsoft are not doing this on their own good will. They are being required to do this so I give no credit to either company for any of this. They certainly are not offering these options in places they are not forced to.

  2. Michael said on January 19, 2024 at 6:21 pm

    Google being forced to adhere to their former motto “don’t be evil”, nice.

  3. Scroogled said on January 18, 2024 at 11:35 pm

    Unfortunately, not everyone gets treated equally. More laws should be implemented to prohibit large technological businesses from exploiting consumers, regardless of location. Everyone should have choices.

  4. please girl said on January 18, 2024 at 5:54 pm

    europe should ban google similar like what china did

  5. TelV said on January 18, 2024 at 2:07 pm

    As I understand it, from Windows 11 23H2 feature pack onwards users will be forced to sign in with a Microsoft account which I stubbornly refuse to do.

    At the moment I’m using GRC’s “InControl” app to block all feature updates beyond 22H2. So if the option to uninstall Edge is linked to having the latest feature pack installed I guess Edge will have to remain on my system even though I never use it.

    Likewise, if security updates are linked to having 23H2 installed then I’ll stick with 22H2. I’ll throw the damn machine out the window rather than have Microsoft copy all my private data, passwords etc., which is what will happen by logging in with one of their shitty accounts.

    1. JV said on January 18, 2024 at 10:21 pm

      You are “not” forced to sign-in with a Microsoft account on 23H2.

  6. Paul(us) said on January 18, 2024 at 1:17 pm

    StStandard you could say that in the brand Google his case the word “improvements” with a better way to spy on their users. Google is the undisputed champion in the spying on its users.

  7. Jon said on January 18, 2024 at 9:37 am

    So, did Microsoft previously lie to us when it said that Edge was so much a part of Windows that it could not be uninstalled?

    1. inco said on January 18, 2024 at 10:53 am

      Of course it was a lie. Just like when they’d claim Kinect was an integral, important part that could not ever be removed from the console EVER? … then they just removed it from the xbox one.
      NEVER trust any big company’s claims.

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