Google will propose a mandatory "search choice" to Android users of the EU in 2020

Google presents a new "screen of choice" search engine in Europe for Android users. This is reminiscent of what Microsoft was forced to do about ten years ago: to propose " choice of navigator " on the desk in Europe.

An integral part of antitrust compliance. This is part of Google's efforts to comply with the July 2018 European Commission (EC) antitrust decision involving Android and the bundle of applications. appealed the decision (19459004) and the corresponding fine of $ 5 billion.

From 2020, when Android users install their devices, a version of the next screen will be presented to them. Google indicates that providers vary potentially from one country to another.

By default in Chrome and on the Home screen. When a user makes his choice, the provider becomes the default search engine:

  • Under Chrome (if the browser is installed)
  • In the search box of the screen d & # 39; Home
  • The search application of this supplier is also installed (if not already)

The criteria to be taken into account are as follows: to be a general search engine (not vertical), local language support, and free availability in Google Play. Search Providers must apply to Google no later than September 13th. And as of October 31, the list of search engines in each country will be confirmed.

Beyond the app, Google will arrange an auction to determine the search engines. the engines are included on the screen of choice. The successful bidders will be randomly presented and "pay each time a user selects them from the given country's selection screen".

Here is how the process will work according to Google:

In each country bid, search engines indicate the price that they are willing to pay each time a user selects them in the auction. screen of choice of the given country. Each country will have a minimum bid threshold. The three highest bids that meet or exceed the bid threshold for a given country appear in the country's selection screen.

According to Google, the auction is a fair and objective process. The idea of ​​an auction brought some critics to complaining that Google "was again abusing its dominant position". However, Google has defended the auction as "a fair and objective way of determining which search providers are included in the screen of choice." It allows search engines to choose the value they value. to appear on the screen of choice and to make an offer accordingly. "

Search Engine CEO Ecosia Christian Kroll, issued a press release in response to the announcement of the auction. " This is a really disappointing news. Ecosia is a non-profit search engine. We use our income to plant trees in areas affected by deforestation or desertification, not to trigger fierce wars, "he said. "If we choose to participate in an auction and pay Google the privilege of being a search engine option on Android, this will potentially be at the expense of millions of trees that we would otherwise have planted."

It's also not entirely clear whether or how the auctioning process could coexist with the control and discretion of the phone makers (think: Samsung) on ​​their home screen Android. This could negate their ability to charge vendors as the default engine for these devices.

Why we should care The European Commission can intervene and prevent Google from charging its competitors to participate in the search choice screen, but this remains to be seen. Although Google is silent on this point, it will appear as a choice in all countries and will probably not participate in the auction.

Due to the strength of its brand and its current use, Google will "win" in most cases unless Competitive search engines aggressively market certain differentiating features (eg, privacy). This process is unlikely to have a significant, if any, impact on the reach of Google's mobile search or ad revenue.

About the Author

Greg Sterling is a collaborative editor at Search Engine Land. He researches and writes on the links between digital commerce and offline commerce. He is also Vice President of Strategy and Knowledge for the Local Search Association. Follow him on on Twitter or find him at the address Google+ .

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