EU Orders Google To Come Clean On How It's Ranking Your Flight And Hotel Search Results

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Google is once again in hot water with the European Union (EU). This time around, the United States-based search giant has run afoul of the EU's consumer protection and antitrust regulations with regards to how it present search results for hotels and airline flights

At the heart of the issues are search results for Google Flight and Google Hotels. According to EU regulatory bodies, Google does not do enough to allow consumers to make informed decisions on travel arrangements. More specifically, Google leaves out details such as any applicable taxes or fees, which could substantially raise the cost of flights or lodging. Google has the ability to display this information in its search results, which is why the EU is pouncing at this time.

"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," said EU Justice Commissioner Didier Reynders, according to Reuters.

For its part, Google added that it "Welcome[s] this dialogue and [is] 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."

Google could be subject to sanctions and other penalties if it does not comply with EU guidelines, which the company is already very familiar with these days. For example, antitrust regulators in France smacked Google with a $593 million fine earlier this month for not reaching an agreement on news aggregation for local publishers.

The search giant hasn't been able to escape scrutiny here at home either. Google is facing a lawsuit from Epic Games over its Play Store policies. In addition, Google was accused of conspiring with Facebook on the digital advertising front using a backroom deal codenamed Jedi Blue.

Perhaps most troubling for Google is the antitrust lawsuit filed against the company in October by the U.S. Department of Justice. The lawsuit alleges that Google "stifled competition" with its online search and advertising businesses. At the time, then-Attorney General William Barr said that "competition in this industry is vitally important" and that "this lawsuit strikes at the heart of Google's grip over the internet for millions of American consumers, advertisers, small businesses and entrepreneurs beholden to an unlawful monopolist."

As you can see, Google finds itself embroiled in legal spats all around the globe. However, that hasn’t crushed its will to maintain a dominant edge in all the market segments where it competes.