Skip to main content

Google will let European Android users choose their preferred browser and search engine

Google will start prompting Android users in Europe to choose a browser and search engine they prefer to use on their device.

The European Commission levied a $5 billion fine on Google last year for requiring OEMs to pre-load its own search engine and browser on Android devices. In response, Google has mentioned that it will start charging a paid license to OEMs in Europe — up to $40 per device — that want to bundle Google Play services.

In a blog post, Google said:

On Android phones, you've always been able to install any search engine or browser you want, irrespective of what came pre-installed on the phone when you bought it. In fact, a typical Android phone user will usually install around 50 additional apps on their phone.After the Commission's July 2018 decision, we changed the licensing model for the Google apps we build for use on Android phones, creating new, separate licenses for Google Play, the Google Chrome browser, and for Google Search. In doing so, we maintained the freedom for phone makers to install any alternative app alongside a Google app.Now we'll also do more to ensure that Android phone owners know about the wide choice of browsers and search engines available to download to their phones. This will involve asking users of existing and new Android devices in Europe which browser and search apps they would like to use.

Google didn't say when it will start showing the option to users other than "over the next few months," but we'll let you know once we hear more.

Harish Jonnalagadda
Harish Jonnalagadda

Harish Jonnalagadda is a Senior Editor overseeing Asia at Android Central. He leads the site's coverage of Chinese phone brands, contributing to reviews, features, and buying guides. He also writes about storage servers, audio products, and the semiconductor industry. Contact him on Twitter at @chunkynerd.

  • It's not like they're not tracking us with the OS itself. 😏
  • "Let"? You mean "require". The choice is already available. Most just don't know or bother to choose something other than the default.
  • Google didn't do anything wrong. It's not too much to ask for a few apps to be set as defaults when Google is providing the os for free. People can choose something else if they want. Where is the damn problem. The EU is being too heavy handed. Who ever heard of forcing a business to help out it's competitors.
  • So, Microsoft was wrongfully convicted back in the day?
  • Funny, you think they would have had this from the start with the very public and fairly well known case of Microsoft on pc having the same quibbles in the EU? Although I'm also surprised the union didn't force this at the same time all those years ago, android has been in the lead well over MS for quite a while...but I honestly don't get the rationale either way. Is it just not obvious or does the EU feel consumers are not that smart?
  • Consumers aren't that smart. And monopoly behavior is illegal.
  • No surprise, EU regulators justed forced consumers to pay higher prices to access basic Google services. It's a net loss for EU consumers.
  • Please explain how? Cos your comment doesn't make sense
  • But then again, our data prices are about half of the north American ditto, so we'll survive those 40 $...
  •  'In fact, a typical Android phone user will usually install around 50 additional apps on their phone.' That's about a factor 10 compared to the numbers I usually see...
  • I didn't agree with the EU ruling last year and still don't, Google didn't do anything wrong, after all they're giving the Android OS away for free and Android users can still choose their default browser, launcher, etc.... This is the beauty of Android, choice.