By Foo Yun Chee
BRUSSELS, Jun 8 (.) – Google gave in to pressure from rivals and will allow them to compete for free to be the default search engines on Android devices in Europe, expanding on a commitment made with European Union antitrust regulators two years ago. years. The move taken by the world’s most popular Internet search engine, owned by Alphabet, comes as the 27-country bloc is studying rules that could be introduced next year to force Google, Amazon, Apple and Facebook to guarantee a level playing field for competitors.
Google’s Android mobile operating system runs on about four-fifths of the world’s smartphones. The US tech giant said in 2019 that rivals would have to pay at auction to appear on a screen for users to select their preferred search engine.
Google’s change of mind follows a € 4.24 billion ($ 5.16 billion) fine imposed by the European Commission, the EU’s antitrust authority, in 2018 for using Android unfairly to cement dominance of its engine. search.
“We are now making some final changes to the choice screen, including free participation by eligible search providers. We will also increase the number of search providers that are displayed on screen,” wrote Oliver Bethell, director of Google, in a blog post on Tuesday.
The changes will take effect in September, the blog added.
The commission did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Google said the five most popular eligible search engines in each EU country according to StatCounter – including its own – will be displayed in random order at the top of the screen, while up to seven will be displayed at the bottom.
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(Edited in Spanish by Carlos Serrano)