Google lets Android users choose browsers to ease EU antitrust concerns

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In an effort to address EU antitrust concerns, Google has announced that Android users in Europe will now be able to choose between five different web browsers and search engines on their devices.

Last year the EU hit the search giant with a record €4.34bn fine over how it used the market power of its mobile software to block competing services in search and web browsing

By pre-installing its Chrome browser and Google search app on Android smartphones, Google gained an unfair advantage on its rivals according to the European Commission.

Now the company is trying to rectify the situation by giving European users more choices when it comes to which browsers are installed on their devices and which search engine they choose to use.

More search and browser options

In a blog post, Product Management Director at Google, Paul Gennai explained that Android users in Europe will now see new screens with an option to download different search apps and browsers when they open Google Play, saying:

“These new screens will be displayed the first time a user opens Google Play after receiving an upcoming update. 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. Apps that are not already installed on the device will be included based on their popularity and shown in a random order.”

The new options will appear on both new Android phones sold in Europe as well as on existing devices in the region.

While these changes may be enough to persuade the European Commission that Google has realized the error of its ways, the lobbyist group FairSearch whose complaint against Android triggered the EU investigation in the first place is still not satisfied and things the European regulators should do more, saying:

“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.”

If Google is unable to show European regulators that it has put a stop to its anti-competitive practices, it faces a fine of up to five percent of Alphabet's average daily worldwide turnover.

Via Reuters

Anthony Spadafora

After working with the TechRadar Pro team for the last several years, Anthony is now the security and networking editor at Tom’s Guide where he covers everything from data breaches and ransomware gangs to the best way to cover your whole home or business with Wi-Fi. When not writing, you can find him tinkering with PCs and game consoles, managing cables and upgrading his smart home.