Android offers users in the European Union the option of choosing from four possible search engines which they would like to react to by default when searching on their device. One of them is always Google itself and the other three vary depending on the country, as they are selected through a regular auction that Google conducts.
Android users can choose between Google and three other search engines to set them as the default service on their phones
The auction works like this: search engines offer Google a certain amount of money to appear among the standard options of Android devices, and the company picks the three highest bids, keeping that money.
Auction winners are displayed for a cycle that is valid for three months when users select the default search engine. A new auction will take place at the end of the term.
In the case of Spain, the winners of the auction of the new cycle (which will take place from October 1st to December 31st) were Bing, Info.com and PrivacyWall, This will appear in random order along with Google when users need to select a default search engine on a new device with the Android operating system. In other countries, the auction winners were others, including services like DuckDuckGo (a browser that uses privacy as a claim), GMX, Yandex, etc., depending on the country.
In the event of a tie, as happened in Bulgaria between five search engines (DuckDuckGo, GMX, info.com, PrivacyWall and Yandex) that offered the same amount, they will all be offered randomly on each device but will always show four Options.
Google has been obliged to carry out this offer since 2018. The European Commission sanctioned the company three years ago for violating the non-compete clause by forcing users to choose its search engine as the default Android option it had to pay for a historic fine of 4,340 million euros. In addition, it was forced to include services from other companies – including search engines – by default on Android, and began auctioning those services in March 2020.
However, there are search engines that do not agree with Google’s auction system. For example, Ecosia, a search engine that uses the money from user search to plant trees, ensures that this system will only benefit Google, which has an economic benefit, and that users will be free to choose which search engine they want to use, without bidding in between.