Google grappling with ‘user choice’ roll­out

DNA (Daily News & Analysis) Mumbai Edition - - FRONT PAGE -

In the wake of the new Euro­pean Union or­der that ex­pects Google to give phone users the chance to opt for com­pet­ing browser and search apps to boost com­pe­ti­tion, the tech gi­ant is still grappling with the finer de­tails. Ac­cord­ing to the bloc’s an­titrust com­mis­sioner Mar­grethe Vestager, the Al­pha­bet Inc. unit had said in March that it would soon dis­play a choice screen to An­droid mo­bile phone users in Europe so they had the op­tion of pick­ing al­ter­na­tives to Google’s search app and Chrome web browser. Vestager has fined Google 8.2 bil­lion eu­ros over the past two years for an­titrust vi­o­la­tions, but she re­cently said in Brussels that “it seems some­what chal­leng­ing to pro­duce a choice screen that re­ally will give con­sumers a choice that is for real and this is why it is tak­ing some time” to be rolled out. The EU de­manded the changes, say­ing Google’s prac­tices of ty­ing the apps to An­droid ce­mented the dom­i­nance of its search en­gine, thwart­ing any po­ten­tial ri­vals. Other search and browser apps, how­ever, have voiced skep­ti­cism that the

new screen would re­ally help users choose ri­vals to Google. Prompts to change the de­fault set­ting of search within the browser “is only doable, so I have been in­formed, with the new phones,” she said.

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