Google grappling with ‘user choice’ rollout
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.