Google is making Choice Screen participation free for eligible search providers and will also increase the number of search engines shown on the screen during Android device setup starting September.
On Tuesday, the company announced that they’re making some final changes to Choice Screen on Android following feedback from The European Commission over the past few years.
In 2018, the Commission ruled that Google was indulging in anti-competitive practices and must allow other search engines as an option. As a result, Google onboarded popular search engines like Ecosia, Qwant and Yahoo in 2019, but the entry barrier remained a bone of contention.
After further deliberations with the European Commission, Google has opened participation for eligible search providers and will add more options over the coming months, which will be available on devices from September 2021.
The choice screen of search providers will appear for Android smartphone and tablet users in Europe when they’re setting up a new device. The option of search engines will differ based on the location of the user.
“Following further feedback from the Commission, we are now making some final changes to the Choice Screen including making participation free for eligible search providers. We will also be increasing the number of search providers shown on the screen. These changes will come into effect from September this year on Android devices,” the company explained in an update attributed to Oliver Bethell, Director, Competition Legal, Google.
The announcement also went on to say that “people choose Google because it’s helpful, not because there are no alternatives” and that the company will continue to invest in Search and Android while continuing dialogue with the European Commission.
Eligibility for Choice Screen participation
Any search engine has to meet the following eligibility criteria to appear on Android Choice Screen.
- The search engine must be a general search provider, which means it can’t be focussed on indexing specific topics but the internet in general.
- Any European search provider that syndicates search results and ads from Google to display in their app isn’t eligible.
- The search engine must provide local language support in the country where they apply. Language support isn’t limited to the search results but the entire UI.
- The search engine app must be available for free in Google Play.
- Must satisfy the technical asset requirement specified in the application form.
Search providers interested in applying can contact Google at email@example.com.