Google Is Rolling Out New Search Features In Europe

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            Google Is Rolling Out New Search Features In Europe

Google has unveiled new search experiences that will soon roll out across the European Economic Area (EEA).

The changes are part of Google’s preparations to comply with the European Union’s Digital Markets Act (DMA).

One notable change is a carousel-style rich result for queries like “hotels near me.”

Google is also adding dedicated ‘aggregator units’ to showcase links to major aggregator sites relevant to the search.

In a blog post, Google explains that it aims to “present users with rich and relevant information for their searches” and “improve the visibility of ecosystem participants.”

Rich Results Carousel

Google will soon roll out a new search feature that displays carousel-style rich results for queries related to travel, local services, and shopping.

This new format will allow users to horizontally scroll through tiles showing additional information like prices, ratings, and images.

The carousel results depend on web pages having the appropriate structured data markup. Without that markup, pages will continue showing the standard text search results.

While initially launched for travel and local searches, Google is testing the carousel for shopping queries in Germany, France, Czechia, and the UK.

Aggregator Units & Refinement Chips

Google is implementing new search features that provide direct links to content from aggregator websites in top search results.

Additionally, Google is adding refinement chips that allow searchers to narrow down results to specific types of content.

Varieties of these aggregator units include:

  • Places sites
  • Jobs sites
  • Flight sites
  • Product sites (initially tested in Germany, France, Czechia, and the UK)

Google says these features will not require additional work from publishers to implement.

Flight Queries

Alongside the abovementioned features, Google is testing a new search feature for flight-related searches.

This feature displays airline website results in a separate unit, allowing users to find flight details more easily.

Google’s Invitation To EEA Publishers

These new search features are exclusively available to users in the EEA to comply with the DMA.

Google invites EEA-based companies or those serving EEA users to express interest in these new search features by filling out a form.

Through these changes, Google aims to create a more user-focused and competitive digital market in line with DMA goals while providing businesses with new opportunities in search results.

Why These Features Are Exclusive To Europe

Google is rolling out these features in Europe because of a legal obligation to comply with the DMA.

The DMA is new EU legislation aimed at regulating large technology companies designated as “gatekeepers” due to their market dominance.

It will come into effect in March and requires significant changes by companies like Google, Apple, Amazon, Meta, Microsoft, and ByteDance.

As a designated gatekeeper, Google must adjust products like Search, Maps, and the Android app store to comply.

Requirements For “Gatekeepers”

The DMA’s main objectives are the following:

  • Give users more choice over default apps and services
  • Allow alternative app stores
  • Mandate interoperability between messaging services
  • Ban self-preferencing in rankings
  • Require consent for targeted ads
  • Improve data transparency.

Gatekeepers will need user consent for targeted ads and to provide more precise advertising data to business customers. They will also have to allow other app stores on their devices.

E-commerce, search, and social media platforms cannot unfairly rank their services above competitors. Messaging services like WhatsApp and iMessage will have to become interoperable.

Lawmakers in the EU believe this will benefit consumers, who can choose default apps and services easily.

Looking Ahead

As the enforcement date approaches, Google intends to comply with the DMA while maintaining user experience.

Companies have a six-month transition period before the DMA fully takes effect. The legislation is expected to reshape the digital market in the EU significantly.

FAQ

What new search experiences are Google rolling out in the European Economic Area?

Google is introducing a range of new search enhancements designed to comply with the European Union’s Digital Markets Act (DMA). These enhancements include:

  • A carousel-style rich result for travel-related queries, such as “hotels near me.”
  • ‘Aggregator units’ showcase links to major aggregator websites relevant to the user’s search.
  • Refinement chips enable users to filter search results more precisely.
  • Features to improve the visibility of airline websites for flight-related queries.

 

How will Google’s carousel-style rich results affect search visibility?

Introducing carousel-style rich results will enhance the visibility of specific search results by displaying them in a scannable and visually appealing horizontal format. Key impacts include:

  • Improved user engagement through interactive elements like prices, ratings, and images.
  • Increased visibility for web pages that implement the appropriate structured data markup.
  • Possibility for businesses with correctly marked-up pages to gain more attention and potentially drive more traffic to their site.

Without the requisite structured data markup, pages will continue to appear as standard text search results.

What implications does the Digital Markets Act have for tech companies and users in the EU?

The Digital Markets Act (DMA) introduces a series of regulations and requirements that will have wide-ranging implications for tech companies and consumers in the EU, including:

  • More user autonomy over default apps and services by prohibiting self-preferencing and mandatory options for alternative services.
  • Introduction of alternative app stores and interoperability between messaging services.
  • Requirement for explicit user consent for targeted advertising and greater transparency regarding advertising data.
  • An environment that encourages fair competition by preventing e-commerce, search, and social media platforms from unfairly ranking their services above competitors.

The DMA is expected to significantly alter the digital market environment within the European Union, providing consumers with increased choice and control.

Featured Image: Screenshot from developers.google.com, February 2024. 

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