Google To Give Android Users Choice Of Browser, Search Engine

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‘No more penalties please EU’, as Google confirms browser and search choice for Android users

Google has confirmed that Android users from this week will be able to choose their browsers and search engines from five different options.

It comes after the search engine giant was stung by multiple antitrust fines by the European Union’s regulator, the European Commission.

In July 2018 for example Google was slapped with the world’s highest ever antitrust penalty when the EU ordered it pay 4.3 billion euros (£3.8bn) for commercial practices related to its Android mobile operating system.

Antitrust penalties

At the time the EC ordered Google to stop “illegally tying” Chrome and search apps to Android.

The Commission had also alleged that Google forced device makers to include Chrome and Google Search if they place the Play Store app store on their devices.

That fine dwarfed the EU’s own 2.4bn euros penalty in 2017 over Google abusing its monopoly on Internet searches within the European Union.

Google responded in October 2018, when it said it would change the way it licenses its suite of Android apps in Europe.

This meant that Google would for the first time charge a licensing fee for the Play Store and other Google apps.

And now Google product management director Paul Gennai in a blog post has indicated that following an Android update, users will be shown two new screens giving them the new options.

“Following the changes we made to comply with the European Commission’s ruling last year, we’ll start presenting new screens to Android users in Europe with an option to download search apps and browsers,” wrote Gennai.

User choice

“These new screens will be displayed the first time a user opens Google Play after receiving an upcoming update,” Gennai wrote. “Two screens will surface: one for search apps and another for browsers, each containing a total of five apps, including any that are already installed.”

“Apps that are not already installed on the device will be included based on their popularity and shown in a random order,” he wrote.

The popularity of these five apps will be based on industry data and the number of downloads in each country.

“Users can tap to install as many apps as they want,” wrote Gennai. “The screens are rolling out over the next few weeks and will apply to both existing and new Android phones in Europe.”

Android of course is the widely used mobile operating system in the world, by some margin, well ahead of Apple’s iOS for example.

Quiz: What do you know about Android?

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Author: Tom Jowitt
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