Google lets Android users choose browsers to ease EU
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[April 18, 2019]
BRUSSELS (Reuters) - Users of Android
devices will be able to choose their browsers and search engines from
five options starting on Thursday, a senior Google executive said, in a
move aimed at addressing EU antitrust concerns and staving off fresh
Hit with a record 4.34 billion euro fine last year for using the market
power of its mobile software to block rivals in areas such as internet
browsing, Alphabet unit Google was also ordered to come up with a
proposal to give its rivals a fair chance.
The European Commission said Google had an unfair advantage by
pre-installing its Chrome browser and Google search app on Android
smartphones and notebooks.
The company last month said it would let Android users choose their
browser and search engine but did not provide details.
Android users in Europe who open Google's app store Google Play will now
see new screens with an option to download different search apps and
browsers, Paul Gennai, its product management director, said in a blog.
"Two screens will surface: one for search apps and another for browsers,
each containing a total of five apps, including any that are already
installed," he said.
The five apps are chosen based on their popularity, which is determined
based on industry data and the number of downloads in each country. They
will then be listed in a random order.
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The Google logo is pictured at the entrance to the Google offices in
London, Britain January 18, 2019. REUTERS/Hannah McKay
"Where a user downloads a search app from the screen, we'll also ask them
whether they want to change Chrome's default search engine the next time they
open Chrome," Gennai said.
The new options will appear on both existing and new Android phones in Europe.
Google faces a fine up to 5 percent of Alphabet's average daily worldwide
turnover if it fails to comply with the EU order to stop anti-competitive
Lobbying group FairSearch whose Android complaint triggered the EU investigation
urged regulators to take a tougher line.
"Fairsearch rejects as insufficient Google's launch today of a choice screen for
Android because it does nothing to correct the central problem that Google apps
will remain the default on all Android devices," it said in a statement.
(Reporting by Foo Yun Chee; Editing by Alissa de Carbonnel)
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