DuckDuckGo slams Google’s Android search engine auction as ‘fundamentally flawed’

Microsoft’s Bing search engine has beaten competitor DuckDuckGo and will now be offered as an option for Android users when installing in some European countries, according to the Google’s latest default search engine auction results. DuckDuckGo, previously the most frequently offered alternative, was unhappy and the company called Google’s bidding process a pay-to-play, a criticism of the company. did regularly since the paid auction was first announced in August 2019.

“This EU antitrust action only serves to further entrench Google’s dominance in mobile search by eliminating the alternative search engines that consumers want to use and, for the search engines that remain, by getting most of the their profits from the preferences menu,” DuckDuckGo wrote in a blog post published yesterday. “The auction model is fundamentally flawed and needs to be replaced.”

Google is holding the auction in response to a landmark 2018 antitrust ruling by the European Union, which fined the dominant search giant a record 4.3 billion euros ($5 billion) after it found that Google illegally tied its Chrome browser and Google search tools to the Android operating system. in various ways. Google now shows four search engine options randomly on a per-device basis if you set up a new Android phone purchased in an EU member state, but which ones show up depends on which companies are bidding against each other for the right to search. appear in the list based on how much they are willing to pay Google each time a user selects their respective platform.

the the auction takes place quarterly, with the results of the first taking effect in March. The results of this last auction will come into effect for the months of October to December. Competing search engines Bing (13 countries), DuckDuckGo (four countries), (all 31 countries), GMX (16 countries), PrivacyWall (22 countries) and Yandex (eight countries) were among the winners.

DuckDuckGo, which failed to win more than four countries after winning big in previous auctions, criticized the process as an inherently unfair ploy to appease European regulators and not a legitimate way to increase competition from search engine. The company said it was “excluded from this auction because we choose not to maximize our profits by exploiting our users”, which means it makes less money per search and is therefore unable to bid as much as its competitors in the search engine sector.

“This auction format incentivizes bidders to bid on what they can expect to win per user selection. The long-term result is that participating Google alternatives must donate most of their preference menu profits to Google” , reads the company’s blog. “Google’s auction further incentivizes search engines to be less respectful of privacy, to increase ads and not to donate to good causes, because if they do those things, then they could afford to bid higher.”

Correction: An earlier version of this article incorrectly stated the number of countries in which DuckDuckGo will be listed as an alternative to Google Search. It’s four, not eight. We regret the error.