Australia wants Google to offer a 'choice screen' for search engines on Android phones

Google Search Lifestyle 1
Google Search Lifestyle 1 (Image credit: Chris Wedel / Android Central)

What you need to know

  • Regulators in Australia want Google to implement a "choice screen" for search engines.
  • Similar measures are already in place in Europe.
  • The regulators also want to limit Google's ability to pay Apple to retain its default search engine status on iOS devices.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) on October 28 published its third Digital Platform Services Inquiry interim report.

The report found that Google continues to be the dominant search engine in the country, holding a 94% share of the market. Google Search is the default search engine on both Google's Chrome and Apple's Safari, which come pre-installed on most phones sold in Australia.

The report also says that Google's search dominance is "extended and entrenched" by the large amounts of money it pays to Apple to be the default search engine on Safari browser, its ownership of Chrome, and pre-installation arrangements it has with Android OEMs.

ACCC Chair Rod Sims, said in a statement:

Search engines play a critical role in the digital economy. We are concerned that Google's dominance and its ability to use its financial resources to fund arrangements to be the default search engine on many devices and other means through which consumers access search, such as browsers, is harming competition and consumers.

To limit Google's dominance and give consumers more choice, the ACCC has recommended that Google implement a mandatory search engine choice screen on Android phones. Google already offers a choice screen on the best Android phones sold in Europe.

The EU Commission had fined Google nearly $5 billion in 2018 over its Android dominance. Following the ruling, Google announced plans of offering a choice of search providers to Android users in the old continent.

The ACCC has also recommended that it be given the power to restrict Google from bundling its search services with other services and paying Apple to secure its default search engine status on iPhones, iPads, and Macs.

Babu Mohan
News Writer
  • Everyone will just choose Google anyway because it's the best one so why bother.
  • If people will always choose Google remind me again why they pay billions to be the default on iOS?
  • Don't see why folks can't just use a mobile browser, other than the Chrome browser, that offers a choice? I'm running a Moto device with the Samsung browser and it offers a choice of Google, Yahoo, Bing or DuckDuckGo (the last of which I use as default for privacy). And they're not even the only browser to offer a choice either. The Samsung browser even offers a search widget you can place on your home screen, I imagine in place of the default Google search bar. Only time you'd in theory run into Google would be with the Assistant. This could easily be an education issue for the public...