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Google in Europe

Complying with the Digital Markets Act

The European Union's Digital Markets Act (DMA) comes into force this week for companies who have been designated. Today, we are sharing some more details about the changes we are making to comply, following product testing we announced earlier this year.

The changes that we have made are the result of intensive work over many months from engineers, researchers, product managers and product designers from across the company. Throughout this process, we have engaged extensively with the European Commission, industry stakeholders and consumer associations, including through dozens of workshops, events and direct discussions.

Our goal has always been to build products that are helpful, innovative and secure. A number of the new rules involve difficult trade-offs that will impact the people and businesses who use our products. For example, changes to our Search results may send more traffic to large intermediaries and aggregators, and less traffic to direct suppliers like hotels, airlines, merchants and restaurants. For consumers, some of the features that we have developed to help people get things done quickly and securely online — like providing recommendations across different products — won't work in the same way anymore. We have sought to balance various important issues and engage with relevant stakeholders about these trade-offs as we implement our compliance measures.

Here is some more information about the changes:

Changes for users and businesses

  • Changes to Search results: We have now implemented more than 20 product changes, including the introduction of dedicated units and chips to help users find comparison sites in areas like flights, hotels and shopping. We have removed some features from the search results page which help consumers find businesses, such as the Google Flights unit.
  • Choice screens: When you use an Android phone, you can easily switch your search engine or browser. Under the DMA, we will show additional choice screens, which are built on user research and testing, as well as feedback from the industry. You will see these on Android phones as you set up a device, and soon on Chrome for desktop and iOS devices.
  • Additional consents for linking Google 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. Today, users in the EEA can visit settings in their Google Account and choose if they want to continue to share data across Google services by linking them. Users may also see new consent banners asking them whether they would like to link their Google services. In addition, we are making multiple upgrades to our advertising products and tools to help advertisers communicate consent for data they collect, in accordance with our long standing EU end user consent policy.

Tools for developers

  • Third-party apps and app stores: The DMA requires gatekeeper operating systems to allow users to use third-party apps and app stores. Through Android, we already do this. Android users have always been free to download third-party apps and app stores to their devices, and third-party apps and app stores can be preinstalled on Android devices through agreements with Android manufacturers. Apps can also be sideloaded by users via the internet onto an Android device. Last year we implemented features in Android 14 that make third-party app stores work even better for users and let third-party app stores update apps more easily.
  • Alternative billing: The DMA requires gatekeeper app stores to allow developers to use alternative billing systems for the completion of in-app purchases. We have already launched two programs that allow app developers to transact with their EEA users through the developer’s own billing system, rather than through Google Play’s billing system:
  • User-choice billing (known as UCB) has allowed app developers to offer their own billing system alongside Google Play’s billing. This is the fairest way to offer alternative billing, as it puts the user fully in control of their preferred transaction method, and we’re expanding the program to game developers this week.
  • In 2022, we also rolled out an additional alternative billing option for app developers through our EEA program and this week we’re expanding the program to gaming developers. Eligible developers can choose to offer their users only their own billing system, with no option to use Google Play’s billing.
  • External offers program: While Google Play already allows developers to communicate freely with customers outside their app about offers or lower-cost options available on a rival app store or the developer’s website, we are adding additional options in compliance with the DMA. Starting on March 6, we are launching a program that allows developers of Play-distributed apps to directly lead users in the EEA outside the app, including to promote offers.

Transparency and data sharing

  • Data and analytics: When businesses use our products to reach customers, we give them detailed information about how their websites, apps, videos and ads are performing. We’ve long provided these insights across Play and Search Console, Merchant Center, Google Analytics, Google Ads and various other dashboards and APIs. We also give advertisers detailed data, so they know what their campaigns cost, and provide publishers with data enabling them to track the amounts they receive for showing ads. As always, Google's advertising platforms don't take hidden fees. While we already provide significant pricing information, under the DMA advertisers and publishers in the EEA will be able to receive some additional data, which is shared in a way that protects user privacy and customers’ commercially-sensitive information.
  • 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, following our beta, our Data Portability API for developers is launching in the EEA this week.

Ongoing engagement with the European Commission and industry

We have approached compliance with transparency and meaningful product changes, even where we have concerns that some rules will reduce the choices available to people and businesses in Europe. We do believe that consistent interpretation and enforcement of these new rules across all the designated companies will be critical in ensuring a level playing field for European businesses and consumers in the future.

Beyond the March deadline, we will continue to work with the European Commission and industry to ensure we continue to offer products and services that are helpful, safe and compliant to people and businesses in Europe.

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