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“Google is still a monopoly”: alternative search engines complain to the European Union that the measures taken so far are not effective

In 2020, Google began allowing alternative search engines to be chosen as the default search engine on Android. DuckDuckGo, Info.com and Qwant were chosen in Spain, but to determine the candidate they had to bid to be eligible. A “fundamentally flawed” method as reported by DuckDuckGo.

After several months of dispute, in June 2021 Google announced that it would finally allow its competitors to appear for free and it would show up to a total of 12 search engines to choose the default. These changes were implemented on September 1 in the European Union and the United Kingdom.

In a new escalation of the confrontation of alternative search engines against Google, four of them (DuckDuckGo, Ecosia, Qwant and Lilo) have sent an open letter to the European Commission arguing that Google remains a monopoly and limits competition in the online search engine sector.

“A screen on Android that is shown once is not a sufficient measure”


Despite recent changes, alternative search engines remain unhappy with Google’s dominance in their industry. In the open letter sent today they state that “we do not believe that they will change the market share significantly.”

Regarding the screen shown in Android where different choices are offered, alternative search engines explain that “Only displayed once, in an onboarding process designed by Google and owned by Google. If users later decide to change the defaults, they must take more than 15 clicks or factory reset their phone. ”

Android screenAndroid screen

Screen of choice offered by Google when setting up a new Android phone.

In the letter they also complain that this screen appears on Android, but not on Chrome or other operating systems. It also shows its concern that it does not apply to all aspects of search in Android, being able to refer to other sections such as Discover or the voice assistants themselves.

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The latest data from StatCounter shows that Google continues to have a very high percentage of use in Europe, reaching 93% in September 2021.

In 2023 the future DMA (‘Digital Markets Act’) will come into force if it receives the green light from legislators. About it, from alternative search engines they point out that “the DMA should include in the law a requirement for a search engine preferences menu which would effectively prohibit Google from acquiring default search access points from operating systems and browsers. ”

An addition that the European Commission could consider and would represent a new chapter in a battle that is on the way to being as iconic as that maintained by Microsoft and Internet Explorer in the first decade of the 2000s.