Google is Ending Transactions for Conversational Actions in Most of Europe
Google Assistant will no longer support transactions through its Conversational Actions voice apps in most of Europe starting in May, according to a note sent to developers and added to support documents. Citing new regulations, Google is shutting down the feature in eight countries; Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Spain, and Sweden.
Transactions for Conversational Actions account for any physical or digital good or subscription available made by Google Pay through Google Assistant. Like the Alexa In-Skill Purchase feature, Google had pushed the voice commerce tool to third-party developers around the world for the last few years. The letter, first shared in a tweet by developer Marek Miś, doesn’t go into much detail. Google only obliquely hints at a specific regulation impeding transactions, although the updated documentation assures developers elsewhere that transactions will still work.
“Due to new regulatory requirements, transaction functionalities for Conversational Actions will not be available in the following countries after May 1, 2022: Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Spain, Sweden,” Google wrote. “Actions with Transactions will continue to work in all supported locales after May 1.”
The answer likely lies in the EU consumer laws adopted back in 2018. After a brief review of the latest rules, a bullet point on a fact sheet could explain what drove Google Assistant away from transactions. In a list of what the European Commission is doing for consumers, the regulators include: “Requesting that Facebook, Twitter and Google+ fully respect EU consumer rights e.g. giving you the possibility to withdraw from your online purchase within 14 days or lodge your complaint in front of a court in Europe.”
Admittedly, the timing of the announcement, four years after the rules were adopted, doesn’t make a lot of sense, but there could be additional pressures on Google that make cutting transactions an easy call. Another oddity in Google’s decision is that it appears Android apps aren’t going to be limited in the same way, despite also linking to Google Pay. We’ve reached out to Google for comments and will update when we learn more.