Google’s move to provide a menu in Europe, which began showing up on new tablets as well as smartphones and lets users select a search engine other than its own at setup, has reportedly captured the interest of Justice Department lawyers, The New York Times reported, citing the CEO of a search engine that is geared toward privacy.
“They had a lot of very pointed questions,” DuckDuckGo Chief Executive Gabriel Weinberg told the paper. The report noted that the strong interest in the menu provides a look into the probe’s focus as well as a possible approach that would not make the federal government go down the road of aiming to split up the firm.
Julie Tarallo McAlister, a spokesperson for Google, said the firm keeps working “to engage with the ongoing investigations led by the Department of Justice” and attorneys general of states. “Our focus is firmly on providing services that help consumers, support thousands of businesses, and enable increased choice and competition,” McAlister said.
On almost all of the smartphones around the globe, Google is the preset search engine. It is the default choice for most Android handsets that, for their part, comprise roughly eight out of 10 smartphones, and the firm pays Apple to be the standard selection on iPhones.
The search preference option, however, aims to tackle the strength of preselected choices or defaults to influence the decisions individuals have in which internet services they utilize.
But competitors are not satisfied with how Google has brought about the menu in Europe. The company is restricting the number of selections that aren’t Google to three in each nation. And it is making firms that want to show up as one of the selections take part in an auction every three months.
In February, news surfaced that Google’s ad tools were front and center in the antitrust probe of the search company by the Department of Justice. The DOJ reportedly had discussions with ad agencies, publishers and ad technology companies pertaining to the online ad tools of Google.