Google last year received its biggest multi-billion in Europe so far, a $5 billion antitrust penalty for abusing its mobile dominance in the region. Specifically, the EU fined Google for tying its Chrome browser and search apps to Android. Since then, Google unveiled new measures meant to give Android users in Europe more choice, when it comes to the default browser and search engine. The company has now revealed more details about how it’ll determine what other search engine options will be displayed on the screen in addition to Google Search. And it turns out that Google wants to charge competitors a fee for listing their search engines.
Google explained in a new document that users would get a search provider choice during the initial setup of the phone, featuring four search providers including Google:
The user will be required to choose one search provider from the choice screen during setup. The effect of a user selecting a search provider from the choice screen will be to (i) set the search provider in a home screen search box to the selected provider, (ii) set the default search provider in Chrome (if installed) to the selected provider, and (iii) install the search app of the selected provider (if not already installed). Note that in the case where a user takes an action to remove the Google search widget (including by restoring a previous device configuration where the widget had been removed), the widget will not be shown.
The choice screen, an example of which is seen below, will start appearing on phones in Europe in early 2020. Until then, search providers can register and submit their bid for each country in the EU.
Google doesn’t mention the minimum bid, but each country will have a minimum bid threshold. The three highest bidders that meet or exceed it will appear in the choice screen. What search providers are bidding on is the price they’re willing to pay to Google each time a user selects their search engine.
In case there aren’t enough bidders, Google will randomly fill the remaining slots with eligible providers that chose no to submit bids. Companies have until September 13th to apply for eligibility and submit their bids for 2020. A similar process will take place once a year to determine the choice screen options for the following year.