Australia wants Google to put an alternative search engine on Android phones

Australia wants to end Google’s monopoly and give users the ability to choose which search engine they choose to use. Several tech giants have come under scrutiny from competition watchdogs around the world, and Google has been locking horns with the ACCC for some time now. Now the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, or ACCC for short, wants Google to display Australian search engine options on Android phones.

The ACCC wants Google to include a mandatory “choice screen” for search engines on all Android devices in its latest report. Notably, this isn’t the first time Australia’s competition watchdog has used Google for search engines.

In 2019, the ACCC wanted Google to show Australians EU search engine options, which meant users could choose which search engine to type in for their respective searches.

“Google continues to wield substantial market power in the provision of general search engine and search advertising services in Australia, with 94% and 97% market share respectively,” the ACCC notes in its September edition. of the digital platform services investigation report.

The findings further underscore how Internet search engine dominance is shared between Google and Apple.

“Browsers are a key gateway for consumers to access and use Internet search engines. On desktop and mobile devices, Australia’s browser offering is heavily concentrated between Google’s browser, Chrome , and Apple’s browser, Safari. Safari comes pre-installed on all Apple-provided mobile and desktop devices. Chrome comes pre-installed on the majority of Android mobile devices,” the report added.

However, the report also adds that the default search engine is Google, even on Safari, which means even more market share for the company.

“Google Search is the default search engine on the two most used browsers in Australia, Chrome and Safari. Google Search is also the default search engine for voice assistants on iOS and Android mobile devices. It also comes pre-installed as a search app and a search widget on most Android mobile devices,” he adds.

The report also highlights the revenue split between Google and Apple from search engines. ZDNet was the first to report the ACCC’s latest investigation.

He notes that the United States Department of Justice, or short for DOJ, referred to public estimates that the share of Google Search ad revenue that Apple receives is between $8 billion and $12 billion. dollars per year worldwide for Google’s default status for Safari search, and to use Google for Siri and Spotlight in response to general search queries, on Apple devices.

The EU already has search engine options

If you’re wondering if Australia will become the first country to implement a choice screen for search engines, the EU already has it in place. However, the ACCC wants to take a new approach where Google should provide an option for new users as well as existing Android users to have a screen of choice.

The ACCC also shared some data points it collected, such as on mobile devices. He claims that 70% of consumers said the primary web browser they use was pre-installed. While 86% kept the default search engine preset on their web browser.

The watchdog further added that over the past two years, only around a fifth (18%) of consumers said they had changed the default search engine preset on their mobile device, and around 23% had. changed on their desktop device.

The ACCC also mentioned the names of alternative search engines that offer innovative offerings, such as DuckDuck Go, a privacy-focused search engine, and Brave Search, which uses an independent index for frequently searched queries.

At the moment, the ACCC’s applications are being submitted to Google, and we’ll have to wait to see what the company comes up with.