Google will charge European search engines to be the default option

by Kelvin

Starting in 2020, Google will start charge search engines to be one of the four options –Among the ones he finds himself–, establishing a new screen for selecting the default search engine on an Android device when it is configured for the first time.

After a historic fine of the European Union that amounted to 4,340 million euros last summer for abuse of dominant position, through various tactics and among which is the search engine itself, Google finally reacted by allowing the browser to choose in Europe by default default.


The search engine selection is formalized

Now, after a few months with the active measure, Google announces schema changes whereby the different search engines will be shown in this configuration screen. It will stablish a country-to-country auction system in which the search engines themselves will bid for being one of these default options.

Google search engine selection


Google clarifies that this limitation on the offer will only be imposed on its initial selection screen, after which we will have the option to select other search engines that may not appear on this first Google sample selection screen, such as Microsoft's Bing, or DuckDuckGo.

The search engine selected at the time of initial setup will take effect:

  • In the desktop search bar.

  • In the Chrome search bar, if installed. It probably will be.

  • Installing the search application of the selected provider. "If it isn't," says Google, referring to his own.

  • From the beginning of 2020.

The auction system

On one of its Android information pages, Google provides more details on how this auction system works. It states that the auctions will be carried out country by country, so the default search engine selection will not be the same for all European citizens.

The auction price will set the payment for each selection made by users

A first round of auctions will be carried out for the year 2020 completely, and this will set "the price that search providers are willing to pay each time they are selected by a user in that country". The final options will be sorted randomly on the selection screen.

In this sense, it seems that Google is somewhat scored, again taking a bite to the advertising revenue of its competitors even when its search engine is selected. Google justifies the auction system used:

"An auction is a fair and objective method to determine which search providers are included in the selection screen. It allows search providers to decide what value they give to appear on the selection screen and bid accordingly."

An opportunity for large search engines

In this way, when we find ourselves facing a limited number of options -Which will be three, in addition to Google's own-, the price of the auction will be set accordingly. It is likely that large and well-monetized engines such as Bing or Yahoo are selected, while others of smaller size, beneficial like Ecosia – which donates 80% of its profits – or more respectful of privacy such as DuckDuckGo have more complicated.

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