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EU gives Google two months to improve search results

DUBLIN: The European Union (EU) is dissatisfied with Google’s presentation of flight and hotel search results on the internet. The European Commission has given the search engine two months to improve on the situation, following criticism that it does not provide the best and most accurate search results.

Competitors and consumer groups around the world have long been scrutinising Google’s business practices.

Google is the most popular Internet search engine in the world. Its business practises have sometimes been the subject of controversy, and in some cases have resulted in hefty fines.

Grievances

The commission has asked Google to improve the way search results are presented. The commission also demanded clarification on how the results would be ranked. The European Commission and EU consumer authorities have warned the tech giant that it would face sanctions if it does not comply.

The latest complaints are about prices on its services Google Flights and Google Hotels. The Commission is of the view that the final prices for these should include fees or taxes that can be calculated in advance. In addition, reference prices used to calculate promoted discounts should be clearly identifiable.

Do not mislead consumers

EU Justice Commissioner Didier Reynders said that EU consumers should not be misled while using search engines to plan their holidays. “We need to empower consumers to make their choices based on transparent and unbiased information,” Mr Reynders added.

The EU executive and national consumer watchdogs, led by the Dutch agency and the Belgian Directorate General for Economic Inspection, also directed Google to revise the standard terms of its Google Store since certain cases showed that traders have more rights than consumers.

If Google’s proposals are insufficient, the authorities will continue to engage with the firm and, if necessary, impose sanctions, said Mr Reynders.

Google welcomes Commission’s move

Google said in a statement that it welcomes the commission’s move. “We welcome this dialogue and are working closely with consumer protection agencies and the European Commission to see how we can make improvements that will be good for our users and provide even more transparency,” it said.

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