August 2, 2019 / 9:13 AM / 16 days ago

Google to allow Android users in Europe choose default search engine

Aug 2 (Reuters) - Google will let Android device users in Europe choose their default search engine from four options, including Google search, the U.S. company said, as it tries to quash EU antitrust concerns and stave off fresh penalties.

New Android smartphones and tablets shipped in the European Economic Area (EEA) will host a 'choice screen' displaying four search engines that users can select from, beginning early 2020, Alphabet Inc's Google said in a blog post. (bit.ly/2yuIiwh)

Search engine providers will be allowed to bid in an auction to win a spot on the users' screens, along with Google, to become the device's default search engine on the Android home screen as well as the Chrome browser.

The auctions will be conducted in each EEA country and the three highest bidders for a given country will appear on the 'choice screen', the U.S. tech company said.

Google's move follows the European Commission's decision last year to fine the tech giant 4.34 billion euros ($4.81 billion) for blocking rivals on its Android mobile operating system.

The European Commission said Google had an unfair advantage by pre-installing its Chrome browser and Google search app on Android smartphones and notebooks.

Google has since allowed Android users in Europe to choose rival browsers and search engines from five options. ($1 = 0.9022 euros) (Reporting by Philip George in Bengaluru; Editing by Shounak Dasgupta)

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