The EU’s Consumer Protection Cooperation Network (CPCN) has been in conversation with Google since 2021 to make online its services more transparent and better aligned with the European Union’s (EU) geo-blocking regulations. Now, Google has finally agreed to provide clear information to users browsing Google Store, Google Play Store, Google Hotels, and Google Flights in Europe.
Changes in Google Play Store, Hotels and Flights
For travellers using Google Hotels and Google Flights, the company will now clearly state whether it is selling products directly or acting as an intermediary for other companies. Discounts will now clearly mention their reference price and clarify that Google Hotels reviews are not verified. This change is in line with other big booking platforms like Expedia and Booking.com.
Meanwhile, Google Play Store and Google Store will provide clear pre-contractual information on delivery costs, right of withdrawal and availability of repair or replacement options. Google will also have to provide information on businesses and vendors, including their legal names and addresses, along with a direct and effective contact point (e.g., a live telephone agent).
Finally, Google will have to show its users how to access different country versions of the Google Play Store, in line with EU geo-blocking regulations, while also allowing them to use payment from any EU country. This is because Google still restricts users from changing their country of residence to once per year, which can cause users to lose content or any credit.
However, it is not clear when these changes will come into effect, but the Consumer Protection Cooperation Network (CPCN) and the national authorities will continue to monitor the situation and enforce compliance where concerns remain. Commissioner for Justice, Didier Reynders, stated that consumers are entitled to clear and complete information so they can make informed choices and that the commitments made by Google are a step forward in this direction.