Google pledged to allow competing search engines to appear for free on the home screens of new Android phones from September, following ongoing pressure from the European Commission (EC).

The company is abandoning its practice of auctioning spots on a screen enabling users to select their default search engine, after discussions with the EC spanning two years on how to boost the options available on Android.

In 2018, the EC fined Google €4.3 billion for requiring device makers to include its apps on their devices.

Google explained in a blog it will retain control over what users of new Android devices will see after opening access to the screen where the selection is made. Users will be presented with “a continuous scrollable list comprising a choice of up to 12 eligible general search services”, displayed in a random order.

The list of search engines a user sees will vary by country, with the top-five in a given nation included.

Bloomberg placed Google’s share of the mobile search market in Europe at 97 per cent, while web analytics company Statcounter ranked Android’s share of the region’s mobile OS sector at 68.4 per cent.