Google will let rivals appear as default search engine options on Android for free

Google will abandon an auction system that forces other providers to bid for the right to be featured as a default search engine option on Android. Following an antitrust action in 2018, Europeans were able to choose the basic apps and services they use by default on Android, instead of having to use Google products initially.

Users in the region see an Android choice screen when setting up a device or after performing a factory reset. They can select their default search engine from a number of options. However, the three vendors featured alongside Google Search were determined through a sealed bidding process.

Some competing search engines have called the pay-to-play method . The European Commission has declared that it came after competitors signaled their doubts about the approach. The EC “has discussed with Google ways to improve this choice screen to address these concerns.”

“Following feedback from the Commission, we are now making some final changes to the choice screen, including making participation free for eligible search engines,” said Oliver Bethell, Google’s Head of Competition for Europe. , the Middle East and Africa. . “We will also increase the number of search providers displayed on screen. These changes will come into effect from September this year on Android devices.”

The redesigned choice screen up to 12 search engine options. Whichever you choose is the default for home screen searches and Chrome, if you use it as a browser. Your device will also install that provider’s search app.

Only general search engines are eligible and they must have a free search app on the Play Store. Vertical (i.e. specialized or topic-specific) search engines will be locked out. Vendors that syndicate Google search results and ads will also not be listed. The changes will come into effect for new Android devices sold in the UK and European Economic Area by September 1.

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