Buscador gave scores to establishments based on their own criteria, with the official classification of the tourism agency remaining.
France fined Google a million euros for developing a “misleading classification” of hotels based on its own criteria, which replaced the official classification, the country’s anti-fraud agency announced on Monday.
The agency opened its investigation in 2019 after hotel owners protested that Google was assigning stars based on its own criteria, rather than the stars awarded by tourism development agency France Atout.
To increase user confusion, the American giant used the same one-to-five star system from France Atout.
In carrying out checks, the agency found that several hotels were rated lower than the official, while others were rated more than they should, “a practice that is particularly damaging to consumers, who have been misled about the level of service they could expect” .
The complaint of “misleading commercial practices” was lodged with the Paris Prosecutor’s Office, which proposed a € 1.1 million deal, which Google accepted.
It is not the first time that Google has been targeted by French regulators. In December, the data protection agency CNIL fined Google 100 million euros for placing advertising “cookies” on computers without obtaining prior consent from users.
Last month, the American giant signed an agreement with French media groups over the payment of digital royalties, after months of struggle.