When anyone based in Europe sets up an Android device, they have a choice of Google Chrome (which also owns Android), along with three other search engines listed. Turns out Google was charging these search engines a pretty penny to make the list. Now, Google is changing the way this search engine choice screen works, following complaints from competitors.
Google dropping ‘pay to play’
Google was hit by a $5 billion antitrust fine in the region in 2018, which prompted its response giving other search engines the opportunity to be the user-elected search platform on a new Android phone. The change will kick in from September this year, according to The Verge.
The current setup consists of only four choices when a new Android owner navigates through the setup process. Those four aren’t placed there because they’re the most popular search platforms. Nope. They’re there because they paid a premium through a bidding process.
Soon all devices sold in the European Economic Area and the UK will display up to twelve search engine options when setting up any Android phone, and none of ‘em will need to pay to make the list. “The first five will be the most popular search engines in a given country, as determined by the web analytics service StatCounter, displayed in a random order. Below these, Google will show up to seven more providers in a random order,” The Verge explains.
While this isn’t the case for South Africa (yet, we’re guessing), it’s good to acknowledge healthy competition in the marketplace. Especially when that marketplace is largely controlled by only a few elite entities.