Culture 2 min read

EU Android Users Can Now Pick Their Default Search Engine

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Rawpixel.com / Shutterstock.com

Android users in the EU can now choose their default search engines. Aside from Google, the other choices include DuckDuckGo and Info.com.

Google will start offering Android users in the European Union a choice for the default search engine. According to Google, DuckDuckGo will become the most frequently provided choice, with Bing tying for the last spot.

Last March, an antitrust ruling from the EU fined Google a record $5 billion for manipulating global internet search trends on mobile devices. Also, the tech company had to stop “illegally tying” its search engine and browser to its mobile operating system.

Now, new Android users will see various search providers, depending on their EU country.

From March 1, 2020, EU citizens that are setting up their Android devices will have a choice of four search engines, including Google. The selected provider will become the default of searches made in Android’s home screen search box and Chrome.

Also, their device will automatically install a dedicated app for that search provider. Now here’s how the auction system works.

An Auction System for Default Search Engine in the EU

The selection of these search engines is based on a “fourth-price” auction.

That means providers have to tell Google how much they’re willing to pay when a user selects their product as their default search engine. So, users can see and choose between the three highest bidders.

However, the chosen provider must pay Google the amount offered by the fourth-highest bidder. At the end of four months, the auctioning process would begin all over again.

So, instead of showing users a search engine based on its popularity in that country, Google shows providers that are willing to pay for users. As you can imagine, the arrangement does not sit well with rival search engines.

CEO of the privacy-focused search engine, Qwant, Eric Leandri, points out that it was a “total abuse of [Google’s] dominant position” to “ask for cash just for showing a proposal of alternatives.

Similarly, DuckDuckGo’s CEO, Gabriel Weinberg, described the system as a “pay-to-play” auction. It’s designed to increase Google’s profits, but at the expense of the competition, says Weinberg.

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Sumbo Bello

Sumbo Bello is a creative writer who enjoys creating data-driven content for news sites. In his spare time, he plays basketball and listens to Coldplay.

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