Google looking for ways to handle sites blocking searchers over GDPR

September 13, 2018

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It is estimated that one-third of US news sites block EU users because they do not want to comply with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). This has become an issue for European users of Google search.

When users in the EU clicks on a search result listing one of the web sites that is blocking EU users, they will get to a page that says they are denied access. Google doesn’t know that the user is blocked because Google crawls this content from the US, and thus thinks the content is available to all users.

John Mueller, a Google webmaster trends analyst, said on Twitter Thursday morning that Google is looking for ways to handle these scenarios. John said “it’s a bad user experience” when someone clicks on a search result and ends up on a page that is blocked. He said “it is something we’ve been looking into to find other solutions for.”

Here is an example tweet with a searcher complaining about the issue:

It’s a complicated problem. What exactly Google will do to improve the user experience is not clear. Google may be working on a way to ensure searchers from Europe don’t see inaccessible content in the search results or considering other workarounds to deliver content to users.

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