Google has announced that it will be rolling out new search and browser app screens to Android users in Europe over the next few weeks. These new screens will recommend a selection of non-Google alternatives to the Google Search app and the Google Chrome browser app when users open the Google Play Store app.
These new screens are being rolled out as part of Google’s wider response to receiving a record fine of €4.3 billion ($4.8 billion) from the EC (European Commission), the EU (European Union) executive branch, last year. When this fine was issued Google was ordered to change its anti-competitive business practices within 90 days or risk incurring further fines.
The fine was related to Google’s anti-competitive business practice of requiring Android device makers to pre-install Google Search and the Google Chrome browser in order to license the Google Play Store – a major gateway to non-Google apps on Android devices. After the fine was issued, Google changed the licensing model for Google Search, the Google Chrome Browser, and the Google Play Store. It also promised to do more to let Android users know about the wide choice of browsers and search engines that are available to download.
Now Google is delivering on this promise by presenting these two new screens to users. The new screens will be displayed the first time users open the Google Play Store app after receiving an upcoming update.
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The first screen will show users a list of five search apps with the message “You can choose additional search services for your device.” The second screen will show a list of five browser apps with the message “You can choose additional web browsers for your device.”
Google says that both screens may surface apps that are already installed on the device. Apps that are not currently installed on the device may also be shown in a random order based on their popularity. The apps shown on these lists will vary by country and Google hasn’t specified if any apps will consistently appear on these lists.
The screenshot of the first screen shows the following five search apps:
- Google Search (installed)
- Ecosia Browser
The screenshot of the second screen shows the following five browser apps:
- Google Chrome (installed)
- Microsoft Edge
- Opera Browser
- Puffin Web Browser
If a user decides to install apps from these new screens, they will be shown an additional screen giving them instructions for setting up the new app.
If a user installs a new search app from these screens, they will also be asked whether they want to change the default search engine in Google Chrome next time they open the Google Chrome Browser app.