DuckDuckGo and other search engines call on EU to loosen Google’s stranglehold

A group of search engine providers – DuckDuckGo, Ecosia, Lilo and Qwant – have called on the European Parliament to loosen Google’s stranglehold on the market via the Digital Markets Law.

The DMA was offered alongside the Digital Services Act in December 2020. “Some large online platforms act as ‘gatekeepers’ in digital markets,” says the European Parliament on its site. “The Digital Markets Act aims to ensure that these platforms behave fairly online.”

But this group of search engine providers fear that DMA is not enough to give them a fighting chance against Google. They say in a letter to the European Parliament that the DMA “fails to overcome the most significant hurdle to search: Google’s hoarding of default positions”.

The group refers to Google as the default search engine on Android, Chrome OS, and other operating systems. Google must let European users choose a different search engine when setting up an Android smartphone, but the group says that’s not enough:

“First, it’s not available on the Chrome desktop or other operating systems. Second, it’s only shown once, in an onboarding process designed by Google and owned by Google, when users aren’t inclined to change the search engine. decide to change the default search settings, they have to perform more than 15 clicks or factory reset their phone.Thirdly, this does not apply to all search hotspots in Android, nor do we have no guarantee that this will apply to new research access points that emerge. “

The group wants the DMA to “effectively ban Google from acquiring search access points by default from gatekeeper operating systems and browsers” and ensure that consumers will have access to a one-click method to change their default search engine.

There is no denying that Google Values ​​are the default search option on a variety of platforms. The company reportedly paid $ 15 billion to remain the default search engine on iOS for just one year. The price is expected to reach $ 20 billion in 2022.

It seems safe to assume that Google is getting a decent ROI, and that’s only on iOS. Remaining the default search option on the platforms it has developed specifically to complement its online services, Android and Chrome OS, is probably even more important.

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DuckDuckGo CEO Gabriel Weinberg said in a statement that “the EU now has a window of opportunity to take this effective and decisive step to reduce Google’s search monopoly and show the world how it should be done “.

Google did not immediately respond to our request for comment. It should be noted that the DMA and DSA are still only proposals, so while this letter has an impact, it will not be felt for a while.

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Rosemary S. Bishop