Google announces the 'winners' of the controversial choice screen search engine auction

Google has announced the search engines that it'll show to new European Android phone users as an alternate choice to its own Google Search service. This change comes as a result of Google being fined €4.34 billion for "illegal tying of Google's search and browser apps" after which the firm announced it will begin asking users which search engine they want to use on their Android phones.

The alternatives are chosen as a result of an auction process in which rival search engines informed Google how much they are willing to pay, and the three highest bidders are displayed to the users. Although the search engines shown may vary, the process for selection for all EU countries has been the same. Google has noted that this auction will take place every four months.

While Google will always be on the list of search engines to select from, DuckDuckGo will be the most frequently offered alternative. Microsoft's Bing will only appear as an option in the United Kingdom. Other choices include Info.com, Privacy Wall, Qwant, Yandex, and GMX.

Google's rivals are calling this auction as an abuse of its dominant position. Ecosia, which plants trees in areas of deforestation with the revenue it gets from searches, told BBC that it boycotted the auction. Christian Kroll, the Chief Executive, stated:

"We believe this auction is at odds with the spirit of the July 2018 EU Commission ruling. Internet users deserve a free choice over which search engine they use and the response of Google with this auction is an affront to our right to a free, open and federated internet. Why is Google able to pick and choose who gets default status on Android?"

From March 1, users will be shown the search ballot while setting up new Android devices.

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