Why Google searches in Europe no longer show maps

The Local France
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Why Google searches in Europe no longer show maps
A person prepares to search the internet using the Google search engine, on May 14, 2014, in Lille, France. (Photo by Philippe HUGUEN / AFP)

New EU legislation has led to changes for internet users in Europe - including the way search results appear on Google.


Internet users across the world have been accustomed to searching for addresses or locations on Google and immediately afterwards seeing Google Maps pop up in the results, allowing them with one click to be taken to the Maps page.

However, for people living in EU and EEA countries, this function stopped appearing in early March as a result of new EU regulations intended to decrease the 'gatekeeping' power of tech giants.

Now, when searching a specific address on your laptop, you will continue to see a small map in the centre of the screen, but will be unable to click on the map and be taken straight to Google Maps. The 'Maps' button that once appeared below the search bar, along with 'Images' or 'News' no longer appears either. 

Instead, you'll need to head to the website or click 'Directions' to use the Maps function.

The change is most noticeable on a laptop or tablet device. When using searching an address on a smartphone, users may still be redirected to the Google Maps app when clicking the map image.

Why the change?

The Digital Markets Act (DMA) was voted on in 2022, and the regulations contained in it became enforceable on Wednesday.

The goal of the legislation was to manage competition and end the domination of large tech companies, such as Google, Apple, Facebook, Amazon, Microsoft and ByteDance (TikTok) within the European market.

These tech giants have been accused of promoting their own services to the detriment of other similar options from competitors, as well as acting as gatekeepers to prevent other companies from entering or growing in the market.

The goal is also to offer consumers with more options.

For example, when searching for nearby bars or restaurants, the results might have taken the user directly to Google Maps instead of other sites, such as Yelp.

A representative from Google explained the French media Franceinfo: "As part of our efforts to comply with the Digital Markets Regulation, we have made a number of changes to the way search results are displayed, including removing certain features.

"Users in the EU will no longer see the 'Maps' shortcut at the top of the search page," they said.


The European Commission's objective was to allow the "10,000 other online platforms - mostly small and medium-sized enterprises - to operate on the digital market," French media Le Point reported.

Are there any other changes related to this?

Yes - people in the EU/EEA may have noticed that they received a question from the 'Messenger' service asking if they want to create a new account or continue using the app with their existing Facebook account.

This is because Messenger and Facebook are technically different services now. The same goes for Instagram and Facebook.

Even though both are part of 'Meta', the company will have to offer people the choice to keep their accounts separate, in an effort to allow users to choose whether they want their personal data to be tracked across sites.

Similarly, people in the EU using Apple products will no longer have to go through the Apple App store to install apps - other options will be available.

For example, Microsoft is reportedly working on a rival 'gaming' app store.


Eventually, the DMA will also force messaging services to allow users to contact each other - so you would be able to send a message from one platform to another. 

Is this just in the EU?

As the Digital Markets Act is a piece of EU legislation, it only applies to the European Union and EEA countries. However, other countries, including South Korea, Japan and the UK, are looking into ways they might rein in tech giants with similar proposals.


Comments (1)

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Alistair 2024/03/07 19:22
Just another example of bureaucratic overreach. The sole result will be increased consumer inconvenience.

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