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Starting early next year Google will present Android users in Europe with a search engine choice screen when handsets bundle its own search service by default.
In a blog post announcing the latest change to flow from the European Union’s record-breaking $5B antitrust enforcement against Android last year, when the Commission found Google had imposed illegal restrictions on OEMs and carriers using its dominant smartphone platform, it says new Android phones will be shown the choice screen once during set-up (or again after any factory reset).
Screen - Selection - Search - Engines
The screen will display a selection of three rival search engines alongside its own.
OEMs will still be able to offer Android devices in Europe that bundle a non-Google search engine by default (though per Google’s reworked licensing terms they have to pay it to do so). In those instances Google said the choice screen will not be displayed.
Google - Search - Engines - Display - Default
Google says rival search engines will be selected for display on the default choice screen, per market, via a fixed-price sealed bid annual auction — with any winners (and/or eligible search providers) being displayed in a random order alongside its own.
Search engines that win the auction will secure one of three open slots on the choice screen, with Google’s own search engine always occupying one of the four total slots.
Country - Auction - Search - Providers - State
“In each country auction, search providers will state the price that they are willing to pay each time a user selects them from the choice screen in the given country,” it writes. “Each country will have a minimum bid threshold. The three highest bidders that meet or exceed the bid threshold for a given country will appear in the choice screen for that country.”
“Next year, we’ll introduce a new way for Android users to select a search provider to power a search box on their home screen and as the...
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