Google will eliminate its auction system that forces other third-party providers to bid for the right to be featured as a default search engine option on Android.
After a $5 billion fine and antitrust enforcement action in 2018, Europeans have been able to select which apps and services they want to use on Android by default, instead of using Google products at first.
Google to Let Other Search Engines on Android
Users in Europe see an Android choice screen while setting up a device or after performing a factory reset. Users can select their default search engine from a number of options, according to Reuters.
However, the three providers that are presented together with Google Search have been determined by a sealed bidding process.
Some rival search engines have called Google's pay-to-play method unfair. The European Commission told TechCrunch that it stepped in after competitors flagged their misgivings about Google's approach.
The European Commission talked to Google about improving its method and addressing those concerns from rival search engines.
Oliver Bethell, Google's head of competition for Europe, the Middle East, and Africa, wrote in a blog post that following further feedback from the Commission, they are now making some final changes to the Choice Screen, including making participation free for eligible search providers.
Bethell added that they will also increase the number of search providers shown on the screen. These changes will come into effect from September 2021 on Android devices.
The revamped choice screen will feature up to 12 search engine options. The user chooses the default for searches on the home screen and Chrome if you use that as your browser. The device will also install the provider's search app.
Only general search engines are eligible, and they need to have a free search app on the Play Store. Vertical search engines, like specialists or subject-free ones, will be locked out.
Providers that syndicate search results and ads from Google won't be featured on the list either. The changes will affect new Android devices sold in the United Kingdom and European Economic Area by Sept. 1.
Google's Antitrust Enforcement Action
The European Union believes that Google abused its dominant power in ways that are made to crowd out other small businesses, according to Engadget.
Officials stated that since 2011, the company had imposed illegal restrictions on Android device manufacturers and mobile network operators. These restrictions have ensured that Google has been able to cement its position in a general internet search.
Officials stated that Google had made payments to certain massive manufacturers and mobile network operators.
The payments are intended to make sure that carriers only installed Google Search on their devices. Since users are usually satisfied with their default option, Google's products are the most used across the continent.
The other part of the charge relates to how the search engine ships versions of Android to the manufacturers who put it on their devices. This presents two different Androids, the Android GMS or Google Mobile Services and the Android AOSP or Android Open Source Project.
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Written by Sophie Webster