Google offers Android users choices to satisfy EU

Google Adds Search and Browser Ballot Screens to Android in the EU - Thurrott.com

The European Commission said Google had an unfair advantage by pre-installing its Chrome browser and Google search app on Android smartphones and notebooks. The move comes as Google is "addressing European Union antitrust concerns and staving off fresh sanctions", the report says.

For new Android users, such screens will be shown off to first time users.

Google will be rolling out these screens over the next few weeks and will apply to both existing and new Android devices in Europe. Pictures show two new setup screens in Android, one shows the now installed search engine (usually Google Search) and offers to install alternatives like DuckDuckGo and Qwant. Apps that are not already installed on the device will be included based on their popularity. The company also adds that it will be evolving the implementation over time.

Google, which is appealing the fine, agreed to provide European citizens a choice, in order to avoid a larger financial penalty, and this effort is now live.

The European Commission last July hit Google with its biggest-ever fine, imposing a 4.34 billion euro ($5 billion) penalty, one of three major EU decisions against the company. One screen will present five options for search apps, and one screen will present five options for browsers.

With this, users can opt to install as many apps as they want. In a new blog post, Product Management Director Paul Gennai introduces the changes that will come as part of an imminent Google Play Store update.

During the analysis process, Google's cyber-security company somehow discovered that popular Selfie Camera app which has been installed over 50 million contains code allowing users to automatically click on advertisements without the user's knowledge or consent.

Android of course is the widely used mobile operating system in the world, by some margin, well ahead of Apple's iOS for example. Google has since confirmed that it would inform Android phone owners in Europe of their browser and search engine choices.

At this point, ad fraud has been an issue over at the Google Play Store for several years already, and this recent discovery shows that the search giant has not fully resolved this concern.

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