Google forced to show Search Engine selection screen

Posted · 2 minute read

Google finalized the choice screen. Don’t know what I’m talking about? From this summer, you’ll be presented with a search engine choice screen.

It’s a simple screen. Four icons: Google, and three others (probably Google will be preselected). The other engines will vary from nation to nation.

Why was this done, you may ask? Because the European Commission fined Google for more than 4 billion Euros for violating the antitrust rules, because Google used its dominance in the mobile market to push Google searches (and Chrome) forward.

Instead, now a menu will let you make your choice and download the respective app of the search engine you prefer.

This is a big step forward, but there’s still a catch. Thought Google would let other search engines roam free in its Operating System? Think again.

Google’s solution is an auction. Yeah, an auction. To even get a chance to appear alongside Google, search engines have to play in what’s basically a pay-to-play tournament, where only the 3 highest bidders enter the choice screen.

According to DuckDuckGo’s CEO and Founder, Gabriel Weinberg, “you’re incentivized to win your profit”.

Google is taking away all the profit of these search engines and profiting from it themselves. […] They’re effectively running other people’s search and taking other people’s profit.

And that’s basically what’s going on here. Google’s using the excuse of the auction to still earn from searches, even if the engine is not its own.

Ecosia’s CEO, Christian Kroll, says he doesn’t think his engine will win because most of the profit is spent planting trees.

DuckDuckGo, on the other hand, argues the process is flawed. They say - and I think it’s the best option - the choice screen should contain far more than only 4 options - and I add that the list should be presented in alphabetical order, with no preselection.

Paul Gennai, a product management director at Google, says that Android has “created more choice for everyone, not less” and that the operating system’s openness has meant “developers of apps that compete against Google have precisely the same ability to reach users”.

He says Android openness has taken “billions of dollars of investment over more than ten years”, resulting in “an auction [system] to ensure that it would continue to be viable for Google to continue its investments in the open Android ecosystem”.

All this stuff aside, some wonder if it’s even going to make a difference at all.

Microsoft did something similar in 2010, and it did nothing more than boost the newborn Chrome a little (it was gaining popularity anyway).

In its own tests, DuckDuckGo created a choice screen with 18 different options and found that people still scrolled all the way to the bottom to find the one they were most familiar with.

Anyway… it seems like Google has found its own method of lawfully doing what it wants.

It’s all from today’s post; see you next time. Happy searching!

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