Android phones will soon ask you to pick a default search engine – but you might not like the options

Android figurines
(Image credit: Google)

Android users in Europe will soon be prompted to pick the default search engine for their phones – but your favorite non-Google option might not be there. 

The new option is currently in testing, and is scheduled to roll out throughout the EU in 2020.  When it arrives, you'll be presented with a popup on your home screen, asking you to pick your preferred search provider from a short list. According to screengrabs released by XDA Developers, four options are available.

In the images, these are Qwant (a Paris-based search engine with its own indexing engine), Esocia (a German non-profit that funds reforestation projects), Google and Yahoo, but that's only an illustration.

The actual will differ in each EU country, with search providers having to bid for inclusion in the list. The three highest bidders and Google itself will appear in the list in random order. Unfortunately, this could lead to smaller organizations being left out, and only search providers that are already well established getting extra visibility.

If you don't already have the appropriate app for your chosen search provider, it will be downloaded for you automatically. You'll also be able to pick a different default search engine for Chrome (if you use it) without trawling through the browser's settings.

Why the change?

Last year, the European Commission ruled that Google "imposed illegal restrictions on Android device manufacturers and mobile network operators to cement its dominant position in general internet search", and fined the company $5 billion (about £4 billion / AU$7.5 billion).

Google has made various changes to appease the courts, including letting phone makers build forked Android handsets in the European Economic Area, and providing the forthcoming extra search options.

If you can't wait until 2020, or don't live in the EU, you can still change your phone's default search provider following Google's instructions.

Cat Ellis

Cat is the editor of TechRadar's sister site Advnture. She’s a UK Athletics qualified run leader, and in her spare time enjoys nothing more than lacing up her shoes and hitting the roads and trails (the muddier, the better)