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.