Due to an antitrust decision last year in Europe, Google had been ordered to stop compelling phone makers to pre-install Google apps to gain access to Google Play. The decision came with a €4.3 billion (roughly $5 billion) fine, which Google is appealing.
Even though the company is appealing the decision, Google is still complying with it. As part of that process, Google has created a new set-up flow for Android users that is requiring them to install search and browser apps.
In Google’s blog post, the company previews what the new search and browser selection screens are going to look like
Google says, “Apps that are not already installed on the device will be included based on their popularity and shown in a random order.”
Basically, the most popular apps will be the default selections, but will be ranked in a randomized order. Google will even prompt users after downloading any non-Google search apps about whether or not they would like to change Chrome’s default search engine (from Google).
Users will have the option to install multiple apps in each category. Google will be rolling out this in the coming weeks (but the implementation could end up evolving) and will extend to existing Android phones in Europe.
The complaints from competitors in Europe said that the pre-installed privilege of various Google apps put them at a competitive disadvantage. This new set-up will test that thesis and expose European smartphone users to additional choices.
Despite these choices, it’s likely that Chrome and Google will continue to dominate browser and search downloads.