San Francisco: After facing $4.8 billion fine from European Union (EU) over its anti-competitive practices, Google has announced that Android users in the 31 European Economic Area (EEA) countries will soon be able to choose their default search engine from four browsing options new smartphones or tablets.
The choice screen will begin appearing on new devices distributed in the EEA on or after March 1, 2020, the company said in a statement late Thursday.
Two search providers a” US-based privacy-focused search engine DuckDuckGo and Info.com — have won the Google slot in every EEA country while Microsoft Bing will appear only in the UK.
The remaining slot went to providers like Russian search giant Yandex, Czech search player Seznam and France’s Qwant.
Google will naturally be a search option on the setup screen in every EU country.
On August 2, 2019, following the European Commission’s July 2018 Android decision, Google announced that it would implement a choice screen for general search providers on all new Android phones and tablets shipped into the European Economic Area (EEA) where the Google Search app is pre-installed. The choice screen will appear during initial device setup and will feature multiple search providers, including Google.
DuckDuckGo said in a statement that it believes a search choice screen “is an excellent way to meaningfully increase consumer choice if designed properly”.
“However, we still believe a pay-to-play auction with only 4 slots isn’t right because it means consumers won’t get all the choices they deserve and Google will profit at the expense of the competition,” it said in a statement given to CNBC.