Following investigations into Google’s alleged monopoly on Android, the European Union pressured the company to allow, among other things, the use of different search engines. This led to a bidding system for being the default search engine on Android smartphones. However, it didn’t work as well as expected. Now Google says it is getting rid of the bidding system and will showcase its competitors for free.
The idea behind this is to give the user more options. When setting up an Android device in the European Union users can choose a default search engine other than Google Search. Three providers are usually presented next to Google Search, however, these three providers have to pay significant sums to Google to appear there.
Some competitors complained about more than one occasion about this approach by Google. They indicated that they doubted the approach and its viability, as it once again offered visibility and power to the biggest (those who could pay the most). After hearing these complaints the EU has put more pressure on Google to change the method again.
As Google mentions on its official blog, new changes will come into effect from September. The company will stop bidding for positions in the settings screen and will directly display competitors without them having to pay. A total of 12 search engines will be displayed to choose the default one.
“After further feedback from the Commission, we are now making some final changes to the choice screen, including free participation for eligible search providers,” said Oliver Bethell, Google’s head of competition for Europe, the Middle East, and Africa. Choosing one of the alternatives to Google Search will be the search engine used on the device and in apps such as Chrome. It will also automatically download the search engine app.
The condition set by Google is that the search engines must be general and not specific to specific topics. It also requires that they have a free app in the Play Store. Finally, it warns that search engines that syndicate Google results and ads directly will be banned. We will see these changes from September 1 in the European Union and the United Kingdom.