Google is changing the default third-party search engine guidelines on Android following complaints from competitors. When users set up their devices for the first time, they see a search engine selection screen. This innovation came after the European Commission imposed a record $ 5 billion fine on Google in 2018 for violating antitrust laws. However, companies had to pay to get there. Now the search giant will make it free to add to the list of search engines that will appear on the home screen. The changes will take effect in September this year.
Currently, the search engine selection screen offers only four providers. One of them is Google. The other three are selected in a closed bid auction. Companies indicate the price they are willing to pay each time a user selects their system as their default search. Google then selects the three highest bidders and displays them randomly on the screen.
With the changes that will now apply to all devices that go on sale in the EEA and the UK, Google will display up to 12 search engines on the selection screen, and no developer will have to pay to do so. The first five will be selected by the popularity in each specific country, based on StatCounter data, and displayed in random order. The other seven are unranked.
After the changes, which will now apply to all devices that go on sale in the European Economic Area and the UK, Google will display up to 12 search engines on the selection screen, and no developer will have to pay for it. The first five will be chosen by the popularity in each country, based on StatCounter data, and displayed randomly. The other seven are without ranking.
However, Google still has search engine requirements to host on Android devices. The changes were positive in Europe, but other companies were cautious in their statements. For example, DuckDuckGo CEO Gabriel Weinberg said that the rules should apply in all countries and on more devices, and the default search screen should not be limited to the initial setup or factory reset.