Internet users to be offered a 'choice screen' in bid to tackle Google

unbubblehttps://duckduckgo.com/.

Internet users in Australia could be asked to choose a search engine from a mandatory screen as part of efforts to break up ‘s dominance.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission on Thursday urged it be given the power to develop the screen, outlined in its third Digital Platform Services Inquiry interim report.

The report, which examines search engine selection screens like those in Europe, argues that default settings entrench Google services.

Internet users in Australia would be asked to choose a search engine from a mandatory screen as part of efforts to break up Google’s dominance.Pictured : Google HQ in the US

ACCC chair Rod Sims said this stifled innovation and reduced consumer choice.

He said consumers may not be aware of search engines which protect users’ privacy or have an ecological focus.Examples are DuckDuckGo and Ecosia.

Mr Sims said a competitive search market could benefit consumers by having fewer sponsored search results, better data protection and other rewards.

A Google spokesman said: ‘People use Google Search because it’s helpful, not because they have to and its popularity is based on quality that’s built on two decades of innovation.

‘Android gives people choice by allowing them to customise their device — from the apps they download, to the default services for those apps. 

Google provided a search engine choice screen for Android users in Europe, which followed European Commission concerns about its dominance. 

‘Pre-installation benefits users by making it easier for them to use services quickly and easily.We are continuing to review the report and look forward to discussing it with the ACCC and government,’ a Google spokesman said. 

Google provided a search engine choice screen for Android users in Europe, which followed European Commission concerns about dominance.Pictured: Google Australia boss Mel Silva

Google’s Android mobile operating system, used on phones, allowed users to customise their device, he said.

‘We are continuing to review the report and look forward to discussing it with the ACCC and government,’ he said.

Google has a 94 per cent share of the search engine market in Australia, according to the ACCC report.

Regulators around the world are scrutinising technology giants’ competitive practices and power on a number of issues as they wield increasing economic and political influence.

The Australian government last year asked the ACCC to run a five-year inquiry into the supply of digital platform services and their impact on consumers.

Reports on online retail marketplaces and a broader one on advertising and competition issues will follow next year.

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