Google has announced that it will give Android users in the European Union the ability to choose which search provider they want to use as default on their Android device during the device’s initial setup process. The new search provider options come after the European Commission’s record $5 billion antitrust fine against Google in 2018. The fine was levied after the EC said it found competition breaches by Google.
Android’s new default search options are one of the changes the European Union is making the company undertake as a result of its competition investigation. Announcing the new search provider option, Google said:
Earlier this year, we presented Android users with an option to download additional search and browser apps in Google Play. This follows the changes we made to comply with the European Commission’s decision on Android.
Next year, we’ll introduce a new way for Android users to select a search provider to power a search box on their home screen and as the default in Chrome (if installed). Search providers can apply to be part of the new choice screen, which will appear when someone is setting up a new Android smartphone or tablet in Europe.
As always, people can continue to customize and personalize their devices at any time after set up. This includes selecting which apps to download, changing how apps are arranged on the screen, and switching the default search provider in apps like Google Chrome.
The company released a screenshot of the new search provider option users will see when setting up an Android device for the first time. Currently, that screenshot shows options for Qwant, Ecosia, Google, and Yahoo. However, Google has a process in place for other search providers to apply to be included in the final list. Google says the new search provider option for users in the European Union will roll out sometime in 2020. Android users in the rest of the world are not expected to be given the search provider option.