The European Union has approved new regulations to increase fairness and transparency for search engines, app stores, booking sites and marketplaces that will have 12 months to implement the changes once the rules are published.
The platform-to-business regulation requires companies like Amazon, Google Search and Booking.com to be more transparent about their sales and service terms, as well as set up internal systems for handling customer complaints. It prevents against unexplained changes in terms and conditions, suspending accounts or delisting products and mysteries in rankings.
The ruling will apply to about 7,000 companies operating in the EU.
Search engines like Google and Bing, along with marketplaces like Amazon, will need to disclose the main parameters with which they rank goods and services to help sellers understand how to optimize their presence.
The rules aim to help sellers without allowing them to game the ranking system.
In a presentation this week at a Think With Google event in Sydney, Pandu Nayak, a Google fellow and global vice president of search, was quoted as saying “too much transparency in search helps spammers game the Google search engine.”
The sentiment was shared as part of a more in-depth presentation on the future of search technology and artificial intelligence (AI).
“If you open up the algorithms and transparency too much, the only people you are helping are the spammers… who will become more effective than the Web masters of high-quality websites trying to do the right thing,” per the media outlet, which reported on the event. “And those hurt the most are the users.”