GOOGLE HAS SOMEHOW managed to turn enforcement of an EU ruling into a moneyspinner.
You may recall that the search giant recently became the proud owner of a multi-billion Euro fine related to anticompetitive use of the Google search engine as the default for Android.
But who are these lucky third-party search engines? Well, that's the clever bit. In an attempt to claw back some of the money it was fined, Google has announced that it will be auctioning off those spaces to the highest bidder.
Moreover, the bids are sealed, so there won't be a "going rate" for rivals to fall back on. Here's how it'll work, straight from the Alphabet Castle: "In each country auction, search providers will state the price that they are willing to pay each time a user selects them from the choice screen in the given country.
Each country will have a minimum bid threshold. The three highest bidders that meet or exceed the bid threshold for a given country will appear in the choice screen for that country."
It adds that the winners will appear in a randomised order on the search selection page. In the event of a tie, the tied bidders will be selected at random. In the highly unlikely event that there aren't enough valid bids, Google will fill the empty slots at random from the pool of valid search providers, even if they didn't bid.
Criteria for participation are that its a general search engine, not a specialist in a specific subject (though metasearch engines can apply if they offer a complete search experience), that it offers localisation options for different territories, that it has an App in Google Play and that it can deliver all the under-the-hood stuff that Google will need to add them to the selection.
Google has said that it won't be publishing a list of valid search engines who can apply. The bid will be based on a 'per use, per user' charge.
The decision only affects devices that have chosen to use Google's services, including Chrome as the default browser and Google as the default search. That's good news for the likes of Amazon and Huawei who are both working with forked versions of Android which don't default to Google.
Search providers can also opt to avoid the ballot and make a private default arrangement with OEMs. μ
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