From next year, Android users in Europe will no longer be ‘forced’ into using Google when setting up their new devices.
Instead, they will get a ‘choice screen’ listing a number of search engines available locally as part of the European Union’s antitrust compliance. This follows a July 2018 ruling where Google was fined $5-billion over alleged abuses in shopping search.
Going forward, users will be presented with a set-up screen listing a number of search engine options, with the criteria for consideration being support for the local language and availability in Google Play. Also, it must be a general search engine rather than vertical (shopping, legal and medical information, job search, etc).
However, there has been some consternation over Google’s announcement that there will be an auction to decide which search engines appear on the choice screen.
Said Google: “In each country auction, search providers will state the price that they are willing to pay each time a user selects them from the choice screen in the given country. Each country will have a minimum bid threshold. The three highest bidders that meet or exceed the bid threshold for a given country will appear in the choice screen for that country.”
Many question whether the auction will be fair and argue that Google is once again abusing its powers, but the tech giant insists they will be fair and objective in their decisions.