If you are used to typing a postal address into Google to calculate a route by car, bike or bus, you will have to change your reflexes. Since the end of January, the American search engine has modified its results pages in Europe. A card always appears as the first result. But it is no longer possible to click on it to automatically open the Google Maps site or application. Likewise, the “Maps” results filter button, just above the search bar alongside the “Images”, “Videos” or “News” filters, has disappeared.

Vacationers looking for plane tickets have also noted the disappearance of the Google Flights insert at the top of the results page. Until now, a search such as “flights Paris New York March 17” brought up a detailed price comparison operated by the American group. From now on, Google displays a list of competing comparison sites, such as Skyscanner, Liligo, Easyvoyages or Opodo, then airlines.

The same logic is at work for hotel searches, or for searches for commercial products.

These changes are the consequence of the entry into force on Thursday March 7 of the European Regulation on digital markets, or Digital Markets Act (DMA). This text, voted in 2022, aims to put an end to the anti-competitive behavior of the largest digital players. It currently applies to six groups (Google, Apple, Meta, TikTok, Amazon, Microsoft) and their most popular services. X (ex-Twitter) and Booking should enter this club by May.


The DMA imposes a whole series of obligations on “gatekeepers”. Among these, the prohibition, within their own ecosystem, of favoring their services to the detriment of their competitors.

Also read: Thierry Breton: “The Digital Markets Act will force tech giants to respect European rules”

In the case of Google, this means that, on its search engine, the group can no longer highlight Google Shopping, Hotels or Flights price comparison sites, YouTube videos, or the Google Maps mapping service as the first result. .

“We have made more than 20 product changes, including the appearance of specific units and new filter options giving access to comparison sites in areas such as plane tickets, hotels or shopping,” explains the American group. “We also removed some features from the search results page, such as the Google Flights unit, that made it easier for consumers and businesses to connect.”

Google will have to officially submit a report to the European Commission on March 7 detailing how it chose to comply with the DMA. Brussels will study whether the proposed solutions comply with the spirit of the regulation, and if not, may open an investigation against the company. The new methods of calculating commissions paid to Apple by application developers are thus severely criticized by the ecosystem. Gatekeepers risk a fine of up to 10% of their turnover, and 20% in the event of a repeat offense.

While waiting for Brussels to decide whether the redesign of the Google search engine complies with the DMA, it is obviously still possible to access Google Flights, Shopping or Google Maps. There are two solutions for this. Either go directly to the site or application of the service. Or, in the case of Maps, click on the “Itinerary” icon, which now appears at the bottom right of the map displayed at the top of the search results.