The privacy-focused Google Search alternative DuckDuckGo is not happy after losing to Microsoft Bing in Google’s ‘flawed’ Android search engine auction. As a result of Google’s default search engine action, Bing will now be among additional options for Android users during setup in select European countries.
Previously, DuckDuckGo was the most frequently offered alternative to Google Search. The paid auction was first announced in August last year.
DuckDuckGo unhappy with Android search engine auction
A couple of years ago, the European Commission imposed a heavy fine $5 billion on Google for antitrust violations. The fine was attributed to the way Google continues to operate its Android platform and monopolizes its search presence.
The antitrust lawsuit raised concerns over the way Google bundles its own services with the Android operating system. As a result, Google came up with something it describes as a “choice screen” for Android users.
Well, the choice screen is supposed to help Android users select a search engine of their choice. The choice screen will also prevent Google from forcing users to choose its search engine.
But instead of providing users with choices based on local market share, Google came up with the idea of paid auctioning where the highest bidders would be given the preference.
“This EU antitrust remedy is only serving to further strengthen Google’s dominance in mobile search by boxing out alternative search engines that consumers want to use and, for those search engines that remain, taking most of their profits from the preference menu,” DuckDuckGo said.
Although Google provides users with four random search engine options to choose from, the visibility of these options depends entirely on companies bidding against each other.
Interestingly, this auction is held every three months (quarterly). As a result of the most recent auction, the updated list will be visible to Android users in the EU between October and December 2020.
For Q4 2020, the following are the winners of the most recent choice screen auction:
- Microsoft Bing
While Bing will be offered as an option in 13 countries, DuckDuckGo will be offered as an option in only four countries.
“The auction model is fundamentally flawed and must be replaced,” DuckDuckGo reckons.
What’s more, Info.com won the choice screen auction for all 31 EU countries, followed by PrivacyWall (22 countries) and GMX (16 countries).