Android now forces you to choose your default search engine and web browser

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Manuel Moreno Molina
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Android adapts following the huge 5 billion euro fine imposed by the European Commission in 2018: in Europe, users are starting to see a popup urging them to choose their default search engine and internet browser. Four alternatives adapted to the country of the user are each time shown, in random order. A measure reminiscent of the one Microsoft had to comply with Windows. 

Example of the new screens that appear in Google Play Store and Google Chrome / Google



Remember those Windows 7 notifications that offered to choose a default browser from a list? Android users are now starting to benefit from a similar popup. In any case those who are in Europe. As Google had indeed announced in April, an update will cause the display of a new screen in the Google Play Store and a banner in Google Chrome.

Android now asks you to choose your default search engine and browser

The Google Play Store will offer the user to choose their default browser from a proposal of four choices – in addition to Google Chrome – adapted according to countries and presented in random order. In Chrome, the banner will prompt the user to choose their default search engine. When the user touches this banner, he again finds himself faced with a list of five proposals (taking into account Google Search), again presented randomly.

In both cases, Google Chrome and Google Search are presented differently from the other proposals. They are marked “Installed”: if the user wishes to continue using them, all he has to do is touch Next ou finish. If the user chooses a different browser, the application gives instructions to put its icon on the home screen, and, if necessary, to install it. The firm specifies in its blog post: “these new screens will be displayed the first time the user opens Google Play after receiving the update”.



According to the firm, these screens are being deployed and should appear on smartphones in Europe “over the next few weeks”. For lack of precision on the part of Google, we deduce that this update will take place on the server side – no action on your part is a priori required. This gesture from Google comes “in response to the return of the European Commission” and is likely to “evolve over time”.

Google ends up complying with the requirements of the European Commission, like Microsoft before it

In July 2018, Brussels imposed a new $4,3 billion fine on Google for abuse of a dominant position and anti-competitive practices. European jurists consider that the internet giant illegally favored Google Chrome and Google Search within the Android operating system. A problem reinforced by Android's a priori open economic model, as well as its quasi-hegemonic market share on the continent in the smartphone segment.

The firm is also not the first to be forced to offer a choice of browsers and search engines in its OS. The other well-known example is that of Windows 7. On December 16, 2009, the European Commission began to take an interest in the inclusion of Internet Explorer in Windows. The Commission then considered that “the fact that Microsoft links Internet Explorer to Windows undermines competition between Internet browsers, harms innovation, and ultimately reduces choice for users”.


The firm was then forced to display a screen letting users choose from 12 randomly presented alternatives. After starting to sell Windows 7 E, a version of windows without Internet Explorer. For the record, Microsoft had the obligation to maintain this message until 2014 but ended it in 2011, arousing the ire of the European Commission. In response, Microsoft pleaded "technical error" but was still fined 561 million euros.


Also read: Google pays more fines to the EU than taxes worldwide

What do you think of these new screens, and more generally of the consequences of the Commission's fines on GAFAM? Share your opinion in the comments.

source: Google Blog




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