The privacy-friendly search engine DuckDuckGo can no longer be found in the selection screen for search engines in Android.
That screen works based on an auction: whoever offers the most money gets a place.
DuckDuckGo criticizes this way of working because search engines that bet on making as much money as possible have a better chance of a place. The sustainable search engine Ecosia would also no longer appear in the selection list.
New Android phones have been showing a selection screen since 1 March of this year. Google must do this to comply with the requirements of the European Commission.
In 2018, the company fined more than 4 billion euros because Google would abuse its dominant position on Android. Own services would be preferred.
Google holds a new auction by country every quarter. Search engines say how much money they are willing to pay each time a user selects the service.
The three highest bidders – in addition to Google itself – get a place. They do not pay the bid amount but must pay the bid of the fourth highest bidder.
Microsoft has previously imposed a similar obligation by the European Commission. To break the then dominance of Internet Explorer web browser on Windows, the company had to display a selection screen with competing browsers.
However, no auction was held, but the browsers with the largest market share were presented in random order.