Google won’t be default search engine for Android users in EU next year


Google’s new search option screen.


Google will prompt Android owners in Europe to choose their own search engine starting next year, according to announcement made by the company on Friday in a blog post. When setting up an Android, you’ll instead be presented with a screen where you’ll be asked to select a search engine from a range of options.

The introduction of the search engine engine selection screen follows a landmark antitrust decision by the European Commission last year that determined Google could be hampering consumer choice by stipulating its own apps and services must be the pre-installed, default options on Android phones. The decision resulted in a record 4.34 billion euros ($5 billion) fine. Google is appealing the fine, but is making changes to Android regardless.

European Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager, who led the investigation into Google’s Android abuses, has been clear that it’s up to Google to work out how to make changes to Android to comply with the decision. Google has already shown new tools to allow people to select search providers for a search box on the Android home screen and prompt them to choose a browser within the Google Play Store.

On Friday, the company showed a screenshot of a screen you’ll soon be presented with when setting up a new Android phone or tablet. It will ask you to choose a search provider within Chrome (if you’re using Chrome as your browser). You can already opt to use a different search engine on Android if you prefer, but you have to proactively seek out the option from within the setting menu. The new choice screen will ensure everyone setting up an Android phone in future is making an active choice about which search engine to use.

The screen will be introduced in Europe in early 2020 — in the meantime Google, is encouraging search engines that want to be listed to get in touch.