The DMA Has Crippled Google Search in the EU

Oliver Bethel, legal director at Google, back in January, on changes to search results in the EU:

When you are searching for something like a hotel, or something to buy, we often show information to help you find what you need, like pictures and prices, as part of our results. Sometimes this can be as part of a result for a single business like a hotel or restaurant, or sometimes it can be a featured group of relevant results. Over the coming weeks in Europe, we will be expanding our testing of a number of changes to the search results page. We will introduce dedicated units that include a group of links to comparison sites from across the web, and query shortcuts at the top of the search page to help people refine their search, including by focusing results just on comparison sites.

Most of those comparison sites are garbage. I suspect these changes will make Google Search far less useful for hotels and shopping.

For categories like hotels, we will also start testing a dedicated space for comparison sites and direct suppliers to show more detailed individual results including images, star ratings and more. These changes will result in the removal of some features from the search page, such as the Google Flights unit.

Unreal. Google Flights is the best cross-airline search tool I’m aware of. Years ago I used Hipmunk — which was great — but, alas, they shut down in January 2020. I presume people in the EU can still go to the dedicated Google Flights page, but just typing “PHL to SFO” on Google’s homepage or in your browser’s location field is what most people expect to work.

Wednesday, 13 March 2024