Google rolls out changes for users, apps developers as EU tech rules loom

FILE PHOTO: The Google logo is seen on the Google house at CES 2024, an annual consumer electronics trade show, in Las Vegas, Nevada, U.S. January 10, 2024. REUTERS/Steve Marcus/File Photo

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - Alphabet's Google on Tuesday outlined changes to search results and new tools for apps developers to promote their products on third-party apps and rival app stores as part of efforts to comply with landmark EU tech rules seeking to curb Big Tech's power.

Designated as gatekeepers controlling millions of users and businesses' access to their platforms, Google, Amazon, Apple, Microsoft, Meta Platforms and TikTok owner ByteDance will have to be compliant with the Digital Markets Act (DMA) on March 7.

The company had announced some of the changes applicable only to users in Europe in January and has subsequently tweaked some of them in response to feedback from EU antitrust regulators, users and apps developers.

Changes to search results mean large intermediaries and aggregators will get more traffic while hotels, airlines, merchants and restaurants will get less, Google said in a blogpost.

Users will be asked for their consent to allow Google to share their data across Google products and services.

App developers will be able to use alternative billing systems and not just Google Play's billing while a new programme will allow them to directly lead European users outside the app to promote their products.

Google will also launch data portability software in Europe this week, making it easier for developers to move user data to a third-party app or service.

(Reporting by Foo Yun Chee; Editing by Sandra Maler)

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