Alphabet Inc. (NASDAQ:GOOGL) will no longer be the default search engine for Android devices in Russia. The latest version of Chrome for mobile will prompt users to select their default search engine from the likes of Yandex, Google, and Mail.ru.
Android users in Russia will start seeing a screen in the chrome mobile browser that gives them a chance to select their preferred search engine as part of the new changes. The new search engine choice screen in Russia echoes the ‘browser ballot’ that EU regulators instituted in 2009, as one of the ways of countering Google’s monopoly in the search business.
The changes are part of an agreement reached in April between Google and antitrust authorities that requires the search giant not to force Android users to use its search tool. The agreement was reached after Yandex filed a complaint with the Russian Federal Anti-Monopoly Service alleging that it was unfairly being excluded from Google owned operating system Android.
Google vs. Yandex
Under the terms of the agreement, Google agreed to pay a $6.75 million fine in addition to no longer requiring manufacturers to pre-install apps in Android devices until 2023.
“In line with the agreement with Yandex and the settlement with FAS, we have instituted a new opportunity for search providers to promote their search services within the Chrome app on Android devices,” Google spokesperson Meghan Casserly said.
The settlement was a big win for Yandex which continues to explore ways of challenging Google’s market dominance in the mobile arena. While the Russian company accounts for about 50% of the country’s search engine market share, things are completely different in the mobile arena.
Google accounts for more than two-thirds of search traffic in mobile devices in Russia thanks to its Android operating system accounting for 70% of the smartphone market share. Yandex reported that its overall search market share including mobile dropped to 54.3% in the second quarter from 54.7% as search queries rose 5%. The drop could be an indication that other search engines footprint more so Google may be expanding.
Alphabet stock was unchanged in Monday’s trading session ending the day at $945.75 a share.