Google announced rival search companies will be able to bid to have their names included on a new choice screen which will allow Android users in the European Union to select their default provider.
The options will appear when users set up a new Android smartphone or tablet starting early 2020. Devices will automatically set the chosen provider as the default in both Android’s home screen search box and in Google’s Chrome app, and install the corresponding search app if it’s not already on the device.
Google said slots on the search screen will be auctioned off to rival search engines on a country-by-country basis, with companies bidding the highest amount they’re willing to pay each time they are selected as the default provider. The top three bidders will be included on the choice screen alongside Google.
The move comes as part of Google’s continued response to a €4.3 billion fine the European Commission (EC) issued in July 2018 after determining the web giant’s practice of forcing manufacturers to preload its apps was illegal.
Google later announced it would stop bundling pre-installed apps with the platform in an effort to avoid further fines.
In a statement to Reuters, an EC representative said regulators will keep a close eye on the new search selection process, but added historically such methods had proved “an effective way to promote user choice”.
Search providers have until 13 September to apply for eligibility and submit their bids. Google said it will announce the winners for each country on 31 October.Subscribe to our daily newsletter Back