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In Response To EU Antitrust Concerns, Google Gives Android Users More Options

EU Google antitrust

A senior Google executive said the company is responding to concerns from EU antitrust regulators by allowing Android users the option to download competing browsers and search engines.

The company will begin the new policy on Thursday (April 18), as it tries to avoid additional fines from the EU, Reuters reported.

Last year, Google was slapped with a 4.34 billion euro fine for blocking out rivals in the area of browsing and searching, because the European Commission said it had an unfair advantage by pre-installing its own software on its devices. Google’s parent company Alphabet was told to figure out a way to give a better chance to its competitors.

Last month, Google said it was going to let users select their own browsers and search engines, but it didn’t elaborate on how it was going to do that.

Google Product Management Director Paul Gennai said European Android users will now see new screens with options to download different software other than Chrome or Google search.

“Two screens will surface: one for search apps and another for browsers, each containing a total of five apps, including any that are already installed,” he said.

The five apps will be selected depending on their popularity , which is going to be determined based on data like number of downloads. After the five are selected, they’ll be displayed in a random order.

“Where a user downloads a search app from the screen, we’ll also ask them whether they want to change Chrome’s default search engine the next time they open Chrome,” Gennai said.

If Google doesn’t comply with the EU order to stop its perceived anti-competition practices, it faces a fine of up to 5 percent of Alphabet’s average daily worldwide turnover.

Some lobbyists for antitrust measures, like the group FairSearch, don’t think the order goes far enough.

“FairSearch rejects as insufficient Google’s launch today of a choice screen for Android because it does nothing to correct the central problem that Google apps will remain the default on all Android devices,” it said in a statement.

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