Google gives up auctioning of search engine places

From September, Google plans to offer a wider range of search engines on an Android device that will be sold in Europe. Google is saying goodbye to the auctioning of search engine sites and wants to offer significantly more search engines to choose from on Android devices in the future.

That is true in Europe. Google itself states that this was the result of “constructive discussions with the European Commission”. It is more likely, however, that the Commission put a lot of pressure on Google.

From September 2021, there will be a new selection dialog for determining the default search engine on Android devices in Europe, which will offer significantly more variety. So far, Google has only offered four different search engines to choose from on Android devices. Three of the four places are auctioned by Google – if you don’t pay enough, you won’t be shown. Fourth place was always Google itself.

Now up to twelve authorized search providers should be visible – without having to pay Google. The providers are displayed in random order, promises Google. The first five places are selected according to the popularity in the respective country, Google wants to refer to figures from Statcounter. Regardless of this, Google will always be among the top five, with four more to come.

Most of the twelve providers are chosen at random

Seven other search providers will be shown below. If more than twelve search engine operators are active in a country, the list of the remaining seven is selected at random by Google. This step is intended to improve competition for search engine operators on mobile devices with Google’s Android operating system.

In August 2019, Google announced that the search engine slots would be auctioned; the competition had complained about it at the time. The provider Qwant called the auction “a total abuse of the dominant position” by Google and he did not see an auction as fair.

The provider Cliqz became even clearer at the time: 

“The audacity with which Google disregards the clear political will of the EU amazes me again and again. To speak of fairness here is absurd. If the highest bidder wins the bid and not the best, that’s him Users of the gelackmeierte. Users must have the choice, for example, whether they opt for the most private or the most innovative search.”

Change is due to a complaint

The European Commission announced at the time that it would closely monitor the implementation by Google. At the beginning of 2020, Google announced the results of the first auction round and Duckduckgo requested changes to this procedure. And in October 2020, the five search engine providers Duckduckgo, Lilo, Ecosia, Qwant and Seznam complained in an open letter to the European Commission.

According to Ecosia, there were then discussions between the parties involved and that led to the current change by Google.

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