Europeans now have the option to choose the search engine on Android

Google this week announced that is changing Android in Europe so  Europeans have new screens with an option to download search different  search apps and browsers. Google is complying with the antitrust  measures imposed by the European Commission. According to Google, the  new screens are rolling out over the next weeks and will apply to both  existing and new Android phones in Europe.

European Commission says pre-installed apps can create a status quo  bias, as users who find search and browser apps pre-installed on their  devices are likely to stick to these apps.

European Commission also found that Google granted financial  incentives to some of the largest device manufacturers as well as mobile  network operators on condition that they exclusively pre-installed  Google Search across their entire portfolio of Android devices. European  Commission says this harmed competition by significantly reducing their  incentives to pre-install competing search apps.

In July, last year, the European Commission fined Google with €4.34  billion for illegal practices regarding Android mobile devices to  strengthen the dominance of Google’s search engine. The Commission  required Google to bring its illegal conduct to an end in an effective  manner within 90 days of the decision. If Google failed to ensure  compliance with the Commission decision, it would be liable for  non-compliance payments of up to 5% of the average daily worldwide  turnover of Alphabet.

What is Google doing to comply?

In Android, the new screens will be displayed the first time a user  opens Google Play after receiving an upcoming update. Two screens will  surface: one for search apps and another for browsers, each containing a  total of five apps, including any that are already installed. Apps that  are not already installed on the device will be included based on their  popularity and shown in a random order. The apps shown will vary by  country.

Users can tap to install as many apps as they want. If an additional  search app or browser is installed, the user will be shown an additional  screen with instructions on how to set up the new app.

Where a user downloads a search app from the screen, Google will also  ask users whether they want to change Chrome’s default search engine  the next time they open Chrome.

Why this matters?

European Commission found out that in Android devices (with Google  Search and Chrome pre-installed) more than 95% of all search queries  were made via Google Search, and on Windows Mobile devices (Google  Search and Chrome are not pre-installed) less than 25% of all search  queries were made via Google Search. More than 75% of search queries  happened on Microsoft’s Bing search engine, which is pre-installed on  Windows Mobile devices.

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