Google Agrees to Let Rival Search Engines Bid to be Default on Android

In a bid to stay in compliance with EU’s scrutiny over the company’s anti-competitive practices, Google is finally letting go -not fully though. The search engine giant has stated that they will soon allow users to choose their default search engine on the home screen setup on a new android smartphone or tablet.

However, this only applies to EU users following a £4.93 billion fine that the EU watchdog slapped on Google for anti-competitive practices that were aimed to “cement its dominant position in general internet search.”

Google has now offered three spots for search competitors to bid to be part of the search options that will appear on first set-up. The competitors will have to pay a certain amount of fees every time a user chooses their search engine as default.

An illustrative version of the choice screen.
An illustrative version of the choice screen. | Image by Google

Back in April, Google started offering alternatives to its search engine in Chrome which still received criticism from anti-Google companies for not being a “sufficient move,” citing that Google still remained as a default search engine on all Android smartphones and tablets.

Google will start showing the choice screen as from January 1 2020. Besides, subsequent bidding rounds will be offered after a year. Auctions will be conducted per country basis, and winning rivals will be included in the choice screen. The choice screen mechanism may even enable other rival search engines to agree with manufacturers to pre-install their services, an EU spokeswoman noted.

However, the choice screen option will only appear to devices where Google has a pre-install deal with the manufacturer. Other devices like Samsung phones, for example, will not have this option because they have a pre-install agreement with Microsoft’s Bing.

Google stated in a blog post that users will still have an opportunity to change their default search engine after set-up.

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Alvin Wanjala

Alvin Wanjala has been writing about technology for over 2 years. He writes about different topics in the consumer tech space. He loves streaming music, programming, and gaming during downtimes.

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