Google is now bound to follow EU demands after facing criticism over its lack of compliance with the European Commission’s 2018 order to offer more space to rivals. The search giant will now display more mobile search apps on its Android Choice Screen and eliminate the fee previously required to appear on it.
“Following further feedback from the Commission, we are now making some final changes to the Choice Screen, including making participation free for eligible search providers. We will also be increasing the number of search providers shown on the screen. These changes will come into effect from September this year on Android devices,” said Oliver Bethell, Google’s director of competition law, in the blog.
The tweaks will come into effect in September. Keeping in mind that Android is the most popular OS across all platforms, the search giant sponsoring it is responsible for ensuring fair competition on the market.
The EU said in an emailed statement that five search providers, chosen by their market share in their respective countries, will be visible on almost all devices. Their names will be displayed randomly, and Google won’t be the first result on the Choice Screen.
In its attempt to tame Google’s dominance, the EU authority addressed several complaints by rival search companies.
DuckDuckGo (DDG) led the long list of entities pressing the case against Google’s push to lock in its search engine dominance on mobile phones.
The EU’s competition regulators have kept a close eye on Google after the 2018 antitrust ruling and record fine. As a result, Google had to bow down to the EU’s requirements and make its “one-click search competition” on Android genuinely functional.
DDG complained in a blog post that the current competition model is flawed: “That means, for all practical purposes, if you want to change your default device search engine again easily, you can’t. You’re back to the over-15-clicks method, which we know from experience trips up almost everyone. In other words, one-click competition becomes, in fact, ‘one factory reset away.’”