Tuesday, June 15, 2021

Google loosens its search engine grip on Android devices in Europe

Android users will be allowed to choose from more alternative search engines to use by default

Tech giant Google has succumbed to pressure from European Union authorities and competitors and will continue to give Android users the ability to choose from more alternative search engines used by default.

In 2018, the EU issued a regulation obliging to provide competitors with more options on the Android platform. Google was forced to stop using the search engine of the same name and the Google Chrome browser by default in Android. However, these measures failed to weaken Google’s position. For example, last month the corporation controlled 97% of the mobile search engine market in Europe.

The company made it possible for users to choose one of several search engines when they first launch their smartphone. The tech giant limited itself to a list of three alternative search engines, but only the winners of a special auction could get into it. DuckDuckGo and other competitors complained that this approach did not solve the problem and that the auction model to select only three applications is “fundamentally flawed”. App vendors compete for a spot on the list, although they only pay if users download the search app.

Now Google will make the auction free of charge for alternative search engine providers, and the total number of search engines displayed on the screen will increase to twelve. Search engines will be displayed in a random order, so Google will not be at the top of the list.

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