Earlier in the month, Google revealed which search engines it would be using as part of the default search engine options for Android users. After successfully bidding to be one of the options for each country currently in the EU, DuckDuckGo has now expressed its dissatisfaction with the way Google proposes to show the screen to users and, as a result, has suggested its own proposal.
DuckDuckGo wants to give users more than just four choices and wants to provide more information about the selection process.
The design proposed by Google currently combines both the options and details on one screen, whereas DuckDuckGo proposes two. The initial screen would inform users that they are able to change their default search engine when they want to, and provide some information on how the search results vary between providers and collect data. The second page would then present the user with the list of options.
One of the more subtle differences between the two would see some terminology changed. In Google’s proposal, it uses the phrase “search provider”. DuckDuckGo would want this changed to “search engine” because this is more commonly understood by users and it would reduce any subconscious bias.
Another change that DuckDuckGo proposes is to add more options for users to select from. Google would propose four search engine options to users – itself and three others. These other three were determined via an auction. In most EU nations, DuckDuckGo and info.com would appear alongside Google, with Bing appearing as an option only for the UK.
As with many other companies, DuckDuckGo expressed its discontent with Google over its pay-to-play model. Ecosia decided to boycott the auction, with Qwant publicly criticising Google’s decision. Under DuckDuckGo’s proposal, there would be a scrollable page with bigger logos and a description of each search engine.
With more attention being brought to the option of alternative search engines as raised in the 2018 Android antitrust ruling, Google may well be pressured into adjusting this process before it is rolled out, which could lead to a large number of Android users shunning it as their default search engine.
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