Google’s Android Search Engine Auction Is “Fundamentally Flawed”: DuckDuckGo

DuckDuckGo Questions Android Screen Choice EU

The two fierce search engine rivals are at it again. After Google released Q4 2020 results for Android Choice Screen Options for Europe, DuckDuckGo has called out the search engine behemoth for unfairly removing it from the Choice Screen Options Menu. DuckDuckGo has even knocked on the European Commission’s (EC) door to take action against Google.

In 2019, the Choice Screen Options Menu, which lets users select their default search engine during initial setup, was introduced by Google for all Android phones and tablets sold in the European Economic Area (EEA). This new feature was added in response to EC’s antitrust ruling the previous year.

The Choice Screen Options Menu was packaged as a way to ensure search engines other than Google have a fair chance to compete for market share. However, as per DuckDuckGo, the bidding process to seize a spot on Android’s Choice Screen Options Menu acts against what the EC set out to do originally.

Problem with the current arrangement

According to DuckDuckGo, the bidding process Google employs to sell search engine spots is “fundamentally flawed.” Its main grievance against the auction model is Google’s competitors losing a large chunk of their profit in the bid. This, instead of promoting competition, financially drains smaller search engines and ultimately favors Google.

DuckDuckGo also explained how the repercussions of a hefty bid are felt gravely by search engine companies. The companies, who land successful bids, often try to recoup the heavy investment by putting more ads on their site. This method gradually drives consumers away and further jeopardizes the companies’ financial position.

Reaction to Q4 2020 results

The Pennsylvania-based firm connected the auction result to its commitment towards user experience. As per DuckDuckGo, it chose not to post a bid it could not recover from without showing more ads. In short, the company pointed out consumer experience as its highest priority.

Now that DuckDuckGo has presented EC with the negatives of Google’s auction system, it will be interesting to see how the commission responds to it.

Who do you think will come out victorious from the EC’s decision? Tell us your thoughts in the comments.

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