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Google gets two months to improve flight, hotel search results or face EU sanctions

Google gets two months to improve flight, hotel search results or face EU sanctions
By Euronews with Reuters

Google has two months to improve the way it presents internet search results for flights and hotels and explain how it ranks these or face possible sanctions, the European Commission and EU consumer authorities said on Monday.

The agencies said Google's Google Flights and Google Hotels services should be more transparent to prevent EU consumers being misled when using search engines to plan holidays.

What did the EU say?

The prices displayed in search results should include fees or taxes that can be calculated in advance, while reference prices used to calculate promoted discounts should be clearly identifiable, the EU executive and national consumer watchdogs, led by the Dutch agency and the Belgian Directorate General for Economic Inspection, said in a joint statement.

"EU consumers cannot be misled when using search engines to plan their holidays. We need to empower consumers to make their choices based on transparent and unbiased information," EU Justice Commissioner Didier Reynders said.

The world's most popular search engine has long faced scrutiny from antitrust enforcers and consumer groups around the world over its business practices, which in some cases have landed it hefty fines.

The agencies also told Google to revise the standard terms of its Google Store because some cases showed that traders have more rights than consumers.

If Google's responses are not sufficient, the agencies will discuss the issue further with the company and may impose sanctions.

How did Google react?

Google said in a statement: "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."