Last year, Google started showing a search engine “choice screen” to those setting up Android devices in Europe following an antitrust ruling. Google is now updating it to include more providers and make “participation free.”
In addition to its own, Google originally showed three alternative search engines. Those competing offerings appear through a per-country auction system where “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.” This first-price sealed-bid format featured a minimum threshold.
In response to further feedback from the European Commission, Google is making what it calls “final changes” to the Android Choice Screen. Namely, participation (both appearance and when selected by end users) will be free for eligible search providers, while up to 12 will now be shown in a random — though tiered — order:
- The five most popular eligible general search services in each country according to StatCounter (including Google) will be displayed at the top, ordered randomly each time the choice screen is shown.
- Up to seven remaining eligible general search services will be shown below the initial five services, similarly ordered randomly. In the event there are more than seven remaining general search services in a given country, the seven services to be shown on the choice screen in that country will be selected at random each time the choice screen is displayed.
Eligibility is defined as being a general search provider, with specialized/vertical ones focused on a particular subject excluded. There must also be localization, an app in Google Play, and compliance with delivery of technical assets.
Interested search providers may submit applications annually in June. To be notified when the application window begins, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
This revised Android search choice screen will go live on September 1 on Android devices in the European Economic Area (EEA) and the UK.
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