Google will give users in Android from next year the choice to set a search engine. Instead of the standard Google search bar, they can use, for example, Bing or another service. Search engines must pay to be eligible.
Google says in a blog post that the changes will be implemented “next year”, but does not say exactly when. The search option will appear when users set up their phone for the first time. They then choose which search engine will appear in the search bar widget and which search engine will be set as the default in Chrome. They can also adjust that choice later in Android.
Four search engines will appear in the selection screen. Google says it works based on a bidding system. Search engines that register must specify an amount per country that they are willing to pay in order to appear in the selection screen. In addition to its own search engine, Google then shows three others, based on the amount they offer. If there are fewer than three candidates, random candidates who applied but did not bid will also be selected.
Google says that at the very least, search engines should have a free app on the Play Store and should support the language of the area where they operate. It should also be general search providers and not specialized ones, which only search for a specific topic. The providers have until September 13 this year to sign up, the company writes. Google will not disclose how many search providers are available per country.
Google complies with the requirements of the European Commission with this change. The company fined the company EUR 4.34 billion in 2018 for abuse of power in Android. Google would favor its own apps and thus stop competing services. The company previously said that users will be given more choice in which browser and search apps they want to use, but is only now giving the first details about that.