Hotel industry: Google stars are illegal, the giant is fined

The American giant Google has been ordered to pay a fine of 1.1 million euros for having illegally awarded stars to French hotels until September 2019.

Google ranking illegal in France

Until September 2019, Google awarded French hotels stars. To do so, the Californian giant had created an algorithm that distributed the stars according to obscure criteria. An illegal practice in France since it does not meet the standards set by the state-controlled tourist development agency, Atout France, who is in charge of rating French hotels. Following an investigation by the Directorate General for Competition, Consumption and Fraud Control (DGCCRF), Google was found guilty of ” deceptive business practice »And sentenced to a fine of 1.1 million euros.

In a press release published Monday, February 15, the DGCCRF announced the decision of the public prosecutor of Paris: ” An investigation by the Directorate General for Competition, Consumption and the Repression of Fraud (DGCCRF), initiated in 2019, demonstrated the misleading nature of the ranking of hotels by Google, in particular on its search engine. Google Ireland Ltd and Google France have corrected their practices and, after agreement with the Paris public prosecutor, have agreed to pay a fine of 1.1 million euros in connection with a criminal transaction “.

Google’s ranking deemed misleading by the DGCCRF

In addition to the illegal nature of the classification operated by Google, its misleading nature has been questioned by the DGCCRF. The institution recalled that the first visible ranking remains that operated by the opinions of Google users, it is not for the latter that Google was condemned but for the mention “ XX star hotel Appearing next. This mention then resulted from the classification operated by Google’s nebulous algorithm.

During its investigation, the DGCCRF compared the official ranking of Atout France to that of Google and concluded that “The identical use of the term ‘stars’ on the same scale from 1 to 5, to classify tourist accommodation” lent “Greatly confusing” for users, since Google’s results differed from the official rankings.

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