DuckDuckGo protests after being kicked out of Android

android logo  w630 - DuckDuckGo protests after being kicked out of Android

“The auction-based model is inherently flawed and needs to change”: DuckDuckGo doesn't mince words. The alternative search engine is gaining momentum after its elimination from the auction allowing alternative search engines to be offered as the default engine on Android devices. Every quarter, Android renews the pool of alternative engines that are offered by default on Android when installing a new device. To be part of the screen of choice, search engines must bid on the price they will pay Google for each user who chooses their default search engine on the device.

The latest quarter results were released by Android this week, and DuckDuckGo will only be offered in four countries: Bulgaria, Croatia, Iceland and Liechtenstein. DuckDuckGo explains that it has held up in previous auctions by taking advantage of the fact that the competition had not formalized an offer in the first quarters. The search engine also explains that it revised its bid down after taking into account the return on investment offered by being offered by default on Android. The big winners of this auction system are the search engines Info.com, GMX, Bing and PrivacyWall, which will be offered in the window of choice in the majority of European countries. These will therefore be offered to the user when installing a new device, alongside Google, which obviously remains the search engine offered everywhere on Android.

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For DuckDuckGo, this system is unsatisfactory and in essence favors search engines that directly monetize their users and their data, to the detriment of those who favor a more virtuous business model that protects user data. “Google's auction is making search engines less privacy-conscious, increasing ads and not donating to good causes because if they do these things, they can afford to make a higher offer, ”explains DuckDuckGo, who points out that its search engine is one of the most popular after Google, when the choice is freely offered to the user.

DuckDuckGo is not the first to criticize the system put in place by Google: Qwant and Lilo had also expressed their dissatisfaction on this subject. Lilo has said that he is not participating in the auction process at all, while Qwant has only gotten to be displayed to users in Luxembourg.

The auction system was put in place during 2019 by Android following the conviction of the company by the European Commission for abuse of a dominant position. The European Commission had therefore estimated that Google was taking advantage of its dominant position in the smartphone OS market to push its search engine to Android, to the detriment of the competition. The solution adopted by Google is not really to the liking of its competitors, but only the European Commission will be able to shake things up: according to DuckDuckGo, it is waiting for more data to act. As indicated at the end of his blog post, the search engine will be happy to convey his point of view, along with detailed and exhaustive data on the subject.

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