Last year Google received a hefty fine from the European Union in relation to antitrust violations on the Android platform, and in particular how it handled other search providers on devices.

Now Google has announced a new feature that will address that specific concern, while also earning the company a few extra bucks in the process. To that end Google will introduce a new search provider choice screen (shown below) that will greet Android users when first setting up their device.

The selection will then become a user’s default search provider moving forward in both Google search and Chrome browser search, but getting onto the choice screen is going to cost search providers, with Google stating that a sealed-bid auction will take place in order to become one of the options.

On top of that, these companies (EU only) will have to pay Google each time its search platform is chosen as the preferred option.


“Search providers can apply to be part of the new choice screen, which will appear when someone is setting up a new Android smartphone or tablet in Europe,” writes Google’s product management director, Paul Gennai.

“The application process for search providers opens today and the new choice screen will be introduced to new Android phones in Europe in early 2020,” he adds.

Whether an auction system will be accepted by the EU remains to be seen, but Google argues that it’s the best way forward.

“An auction is a fair and objective method to determine which search providers are included in the choice screen. It allows search providers to decide what value they place on appearing in the choice screen and to bid accordingly,” the firm explains.

We’re inclined to disagree, especially as the ability to choose a search provider you want is now being left to the highest bidder. As such those companies that can afford to bid and pay the most, hold a distinct advantage over competitors.

Bids close on 13th September, with the winning search providers from each EU country being announced on 31st October this year.

[Image – CC 0 Pixabay]